Washington Post, “Rudy Giuliani and the ‘Love it or Leave it’ View of America”

February 20, 2015

Philip Bump, “Rudy Giuliani and the ‘Love it or Leave it’ View of America” (The Fix, Washington Post blog, Feb. 20, 2015)

We reached out to linguist Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Vocabulary.com and language columnist for the Wall Street Journal, to get a sense of the evolution of the phrase itself. One of the earliest known usages of the expression as a patriotic slogan was a quote from a congressman in 1921. Rep. William Valle told a House immigration committee that his message to non-citizens was “love it or leave it.”

Zimmer notes that the American Legion seized on the phrase as a slogan at the outset of World War II, a time when fear of German and Japanese saboteurs was rampant. A few decades later, it became a response to opponents of the Vietnam War — and served as a shorthand for the political battle line over patriotism that still exists today.

Read the rest here.

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