Charles Schulz's 1970 letter to a schoolchild describes the fake patriotism of today's MAGA movement

Who knew that the creator of Charlie Brown and Snoopy was also a clairvoyant for democracy's future?

In 1970, fifth-grader Joel Lipton sent a fan letter to Peanuts creator Charles Schulz, asking him what makes a good citizen. Schulz's response couldn't be more relevant today. Schulz wrote, "Sometimes it is the very people who cry out the loudest in favor of getting back to what they call 'American Virtues' who lack this faith in our country."

Fast forward fifty years, and it feels like Schulz had a crystal ball sitting next to his typewriter in his Sebastopol, California studio. Schulz's letter emphasized the importance of following one's conscience and protecting "our smallest minorities"—ideas that are lost on Trump cultists who wave upside down flags while tearing down the fabric of democracy.

The full text of the letter reads:

Dear Joel: I think it is more difficult these days to define what makes a good citizen then it has ever been before. Certainly all any of us can do is follow our own conscience and retain faith in our democracy. Sometimes it is the very people who cry out the loudest in favor of getting back to what they call "American Virtues" who lack this faith in our country. I believe that our greatest strength lies always in the protection of our smallest minorities.

Sincerely yours,

Charles M. Schulz

As reported by KQED, Lipton, who once hung the letter on his bedroom wall with thumbtacks, was floored by how prescient it was when he re-read it decades later:

"I'm sure it went way over my head as a kid, what he said in the letter. But I think now, in the time we're living in politically, in this country… what he said about the people who hide behind American virtues, and about protecting our smallest minorities, I knew that could speak to a lot of people. To see that this came from this man, 50 years ago, and how important those words are today."

Jean Schulz, Charles' widow, was equally astonished by the letter's relevance. "The answer, it could have been written today," she told KQED.

Previously: Video: Charles Schulz draws Charlie Brown