Is patriotism important to you?

By Jan Dolcater | Jan 30, 2020

The subject of patriotism is not really discussed frequently by individuals or families today. Why do you think this is the case? Do most no longer care or do they really question the value of its importance or the necessity of passing this from one generation to the next these are the values that have made our country the most freedom loving country on the planet. A recent survey indicated that only 38% of millennials felt patriotism was important and this is, in my opinion, an ominous concern for the future.

Personally, I question whether most families instill this ingredient into the lives of their offspring today. Instead they allow other activities such as video games, texting, or searching the web to be of more value or to be less intrusive than parenting. I believe that many parents are quite uninformed and do not understand what swirls around them in our current political climate.

Several years ago, in Camden and Rockport, I made approximately 500 door knocks as I campaigned for a gubernatorial candidate. Of the houses where I made contact, approximately 70% had no idea what the issues were and still more had no idea who the candidates were.

Although this occurred several years ago, I question whether this situation has changed much or not at all. Such a lack of understanding translates to their children being even less informed or interested in our history or in patriotism.

Many years ago my parents took me, when I was a child, to Washington, D.C., and we toured all of the landmarks such as the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, the Capitol building and also nearby Mount Vernon, Washington’s home. Later we also visited Philadelphia and went to see the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall and Betsy Ross’s home. All of this had a very meaningful effect on me and I will always value those experiences. My wife and I have also visited Williamsburg several times and each time it gives me an inspired feeling. We both feel grateful and proud to be Americans. I wonder how many families today make these types of memorable trips. I believe, if they did, patriotism would be on the increase.

Do you feel history and love of our country is taught and emphasized in our schools today? Frankly, I have serious doubts about this and believe that political correctness is more important in far too many school systems. This week I read an article by a young man who is a student in the seventh grade in Rangeley. He stated that most of his class had no understanding of what patriotism is, and when his class took the test that is given immigrants preparing for citizenship, half of the class thought it was a joke and the other half did not know the answers.

Without a doubt, this should be a major wake-up call for the parents and educators in our schools, not just in rural Maine, but everywhere, They should take note and get off their collective rear ends and make some serious and conscientious changes in their methods. Without accurate, and not stilted, knowledge of our history, culture and heritage, the future of our country will definitely be at risk. We are indeed a fortunate people to live in a nation that strives to correct its wrongs and problems for the benefit of all of our citizens.

In closing I would hope that as we proceed through the turbulent time of impeachment, uneasy foreign affairs and a multitude of domestic problems, that we will work together, in spite of having disagreement on how to solve difficult issues for the good for all. I recognize the probability of this happening is quite unlikely with the constant harangue that currently exists, but if it did occur, our spirit of pride in our country and patriotism would definitely be enhanced.

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column written by Midcoast conservative citizens/writers Jan Dolcater, Ken Frederic, Paul Ackerman, Doc Wallace and Dale Landrith Sr.

Comments (20)
Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 06, 2020 14:22

To all who expressed opposing viewpoints,

I want to make all individuals aware that the thrust of my article was not aimed any political party or individual particularly not at or about Trump. It was about the decline of interest by many families lack of caring or instilling pride in our history and heritage. There is no nation on the planet that offers freedom as our nation does, however the decline of interest or caring about patriotism by the millennials is definitive evidence of this reality. It is also a reality that the educational system in our schools and universities show a significant decrease in the teaching of civics and American history. Far too much time is spent on "political correctness" and not on facts but on political theory   No nation divided can stand in the long run and it is my hope that the discord and rancor after the impeachment will begin to slow down significantly for the good of all citizens.

Jan Dolcater, Rockland

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 06, 2020 14:07

To A

Posted by: MARY JEAN CROWE | Feb 05, 2020 22:22

Jan, Your patriotic president was seen at his superbowl dinner joking during the National Anthem and attempting to sit down while thevanthem continued to play.  Meanwhile, Melania, who at least was pledging, did so with her left hand, not her right hand.  This president knows nothing of patriotism, nor does he care.

Viva Mitt Romney!

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 04, 2020 09:26

We shouldn't be surprised that Dolcator doesn't know the true meaning of "patriotism." When your party is led by the worst liar to ever hold office it's understandable that you wouldn't know the true meaning of anything.  I've written it before here and it bears repeating:


"That he is the defining figure in what can only be called American Pseudo-Conservatism is undeniable.  And there's a truth the public is fast coming to realize, that a party led by a malignant liar is a party of liars, a party led by a corrupt cheat and fraud is a party of corruption and fraud, and a party led by a coward is a party of cowards. The fish rots from the head down and this rot is cancerous (as Lyin' Ted Cruz once said.)"


And let's make that pseudo-non-partisanship and pseudo-patriotism, too.

Posted by: Seth Thayer | Feb 04, 2020 07:14

I wonder, if the author cares so much about patriotism, is he embarrassed by our current administration and the current President of our country?? Does being a patriot mean that you sit by and watch as our country continues to become more and more of a laughing stock due to the antics of one man.  Do you teach your children that the actions of the current White House occupant are unequivocally patriotic?  Do you tell your grandchildren that looking the other way while the leader of the free world does whatever he wants and enriches his family and friends in the process is a patriotic act?  Do you teach your children that its patriotic to have five children by three women, all the while cheating on all of them with adult film actresses and playboy bunnies and then lying about it to the country?  We had a Democratic President get impeached for such actions, but it is ok for Republicans to do that the patriotism that you teach your children?  Is staying in power at any cost, a patriotic value?  Is party over country a patriotic value?  Is this what you teach your children??  Shame on you then for teaching your children that the current state of our country is best for patriots.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | Feb 03, 2020 17:34


"It is pathetic that you two cannot put aside your tempers"

Where there is counterpoint, debate, real sources referenced you see "tempers", anger.

That is truly pathetic.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 03, 2020 13:34

Mr.Horvath and McKusic,

It is pathetic that you two cannot put aside your tempers long enough to acknowledge your feeling of patriotism in the history and heritage of our country. Gentlemen, you have a problem that I question can only be resolved by having everything you believe to be accepted by all.  Get a life

Jan Dolcater, Rockland

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 03, 2020 10:17

Lest we forget:

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 02, 2020 17:05

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.  He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."  -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 02, 2020 15:38

To All;

I would hope that for one week the vitriol and loads of malice could be set aside  Hopefully families and parents can instill in their children pride in our nation, one nation under God, indivisible for all. There are many, many problems that need resolution and that will never happen with any or all that print line after of zero understanding by both sides of the political aisle. Hopefully the anger and pettiness will subside sooner rather later.

Jan Dolcater. Rockland





Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 02, 2020 15:38

To All;

I would hope that for one week the vitriol and loads of malice could be set aside  Hopefully families and parents can instill in their children pride in our nation, one nation under God, indivisible for all. There are many, many problems that need resolution and that will never happen with any or all that print line after of zero understanding by both sides of the political aisle. Hopefully the anger and pettiness will subside sooner rather later.

Jan Dolcater. Rockland





Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Feb 02, 2020 15:38

To All;

I would hope that for one week the vitriol and loads of malice could be set aside  Hopefully families and parents can instill in their children pride in our nation, one nation under God, indivisible for all. There are many, many problems that need resolution and that will never happen with any or all that print line after of zero understanding by both sides of the political aisle. Hopefully the anger and pettiness will subside sooner rather later.

Jan Dolcater. Rockland





Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 01, 2020 15:43

"You can't negotiate with people who say 'What's mine is mine and what's your's is negotiable."  -President John F. Kennedy

Posted by: Emily Emmott | Feb 01, 2020 12:44

Ronald - thank you for your reply. You have more than validated that no one is listening to other, even when they express hopes of finding a common middle ground, peace between parties, and a renewed non-partisan pride.

We are a divided country and the derogatory hate spewing from BOTH sides has to stop.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 01, 2020 12:00

Emily, the problem as I see it is that Jan's side of the argument doesn't want compromise only submission.  The right never compromises and rarely admits to being in the wrong even when they are led by a president with a life long reputation for all the wrongs imaginable.  In my experience Mr. Dolcater's veil of political piety is easily swept aside by any criticism which the right simply cannot abide.  Hang around a bit and you'll see for yourself.


And really, does this statement sound like the trump administration?


"We are indeed a fortunate people to live in a nation that strives to correct its wrongs and problems for the benefit of all of our citizens."


Does this sound like a principle attributable to a government that has worked endlessly to rob it's citizens of what little health care is available with nothing to replace it, to strip food stamps from those struggling to feed their families(even military families), to defund every aspect of the social safety net -including the CDC in the face of a possible pandemic- to pay for their tax cut for the ultra-rich, to allow corporations to dump their poisons into our streams and rivers and pollute our air, to sell off precious public lands to their campaign donors, to rob people of their overtime pay, to persecute refugees and imprison their children, to undermine our law enforcement agencies with smears and false accusations, to attack and insult our allies, and finally to attack the very rule of law without which no country can survive as a civilized nation, all in favor of a man without a shred of character or a single redeeming attribute and probably the most corrupt individual to ever shame the oval office with his presence.


How hypocritical is it of anyone who calls themself a "conservative" to ask us to teach our children about government and the requirements of a civil society when his own side of the spectrum is busily destroying any semblance of a civil society and replacing the rule of law by the rule of one deranged demagogue?  What exactly are they conserving?  Jan's story of Rangely students not understanding patriotism is matched by the college students in a particularly conservative county in California who walked the streets with the Bill of Rights as a petition asking people to sign it only to be accused of pushing "left wing" propaganda.  And as far as ignorance is concerned how do we educate the mobs of trump supporters at his rallies who believe Hillary was running a child porno ring out of the basement of a Pizza Parlor which didn't have a basement?  Or that Obama was behind 9/11?  Or that Biden is corrupt when trump's entire family is feeding at the public trough.


With that kind of polarization how can we not be divided.  Perhaps we should ask ourselves who profits from that division?  Who has done more to divide us and weaken us than those on the right who care nothing for democracy, want to divide us by race, religion, ethnicity and economic class, and would love to take power from these same people and give absolute power to a madman like trump who obviously worships dictators like Putin and Kim.  And haven't they already done as much?  


Sorry, but Mencken is right.  trump's brand of patriotism is indeed the spawning ground of scoundrels.  His posturing and preening in the bully pulpit has all the validity of a cheap sideshow clown.  It's all pretense and fraud.  And that's my point, that Jan's simpering plea for patriotism comes at the cost of true patriotism where sacrifice is shared along with the rewards.  trump sacrifices nothing but lusts for all the rewards and the right wing is willing to destroy all our history and tradition of constitutional government in order to feed off his scraps no matter what damage is done.  Is that patriotism, Emily?  Or is it simply cowardice?

"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right".- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


And perhaps Patriotism, after all, is simply doing what's right.

Posted by: Emily Emmott | Feb 01, 2020 09:03


Jan is asking both sides to come together for change. Both sides to gain respect for each other. Both sides to put aside their differences to be proud to be an American once again.

Many see that as hard because of all the reasons you list. Many have also have been instilled with a new passion for this country. We are polarized to an extreme, Sir. No side will stop and listen to the other. Friendships, relationships, and families have been broken apart over who’s politics are wrong. It is scary.

But to Jan’s point. Has so much changed over the last three years to stop teaching patriotism? Or is it a shift which started in the past 15 years? I remember, when the Christmas lights went up after 9/11, the lights twinkling through the snow were red white and blue, not red white and green. They faded back to green in a few years. Our nation forgot this tragedy and many of us moved on, but many of us were inspired to join our armed forces and defend this country to the best of our abilities. I believe Jan means not to take a political side, but rather ask the questions “what does it take to become one nation again? What will heal us and what will help us cross the isle? Can we put aside differences for the greater good? And what will make all of us proud to teach our children our history and America’s story again?” I know this will not be an easy divide to cross. But with our nation split in two, it is less and less likely anyone will try, and we may lose the sense of patriotism for our country completely.


“... our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation. Conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether this nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.”

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 01, 2020 08:47

“Samuel Johnson's saying that patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels has some truth in it but not nearly enough. Patriotism, in truth, is the great nursery of scoundrels, and its annual output is probably greater than that of even religion. Its chief glories are the demagogue, the military bully, and the spreaders of libels and false history.  Its philosophy rests firmly on the doctrine that the end justifies the means--that any blow, whether above or below the belt, is fair against dissenters from its wholesale denial of plain facts.” -H.L. Mencken


Mencken was a true prophet.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Feb 01, 2020 06:20

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
― George Washington

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Jan 30, 2020 15:57

Dolcater writes an opinion piece laced with anecdotes and subjective opinions vs. researched, verifiable information.

Posted by: Ronald Horvath | Jan 30, 2020 15:03

Too sad, Jan.  It's hard to think of patriotism in the age of trump, a man to whom the word is as foreign as is ethics, morality, honesty, compassion, and even "truth."  Though I believe a good course in government, or Civics as it was called when I was in school, would help to instill a sense of history and purpose in students when it comes to love of country there is still the problem of who to hold up as an example of what "patriot" means.  Truly, would you hold up trump as an example for any young person, a man so totally devoid of character, so self-serving, and so childishly insecure, that he has to hide those achievements that are the pride of most men seeking office.  After all:


The "billionaire" who hides his taxes.


The "genius" who hides his college grades.


The "business man" who bankrupted a casino.


The "playboy" who pays for sex.


The "christian" who doesn't go to church (but cheats on all his wives.)


The "philanthropist" who defrauds charities.


The "patriot" who dodged the draft.


The "innocent man" who refuses to testify."

And there are better descriptions of his shortcomings:


"It was miraculous.  It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice.  Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all.  It merely required no character."  -Joseph Heller, Catch 22


And of course you can always judge a man by his friends.


"Make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!" -Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke


Does that smack of patriotism to you, Jan?  Of course the best description of trump is still from one of our founding fathers who knew trump's type all too well, and he's not describing a "patriot"


"When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the nonsense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’ "

-Alexander Hamilton, a few years after Federalist 68, when serving in the Washington administration


Nuff said?  There's more, of course.  With trump there's always more, more lies, more cheating, more unveiled threats, more bragging, more hysterical outbursts, more crooked dealings.  Sound like a "patriot?"

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