Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dissent, Criticism, and Patriotism

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
Teddy Roosevelt – 1912

“The Bush Administration must understand that each American has a right to question our policies in Iraq and should not be demonized for disagreeing with them. Suggesting that to challenge or criticize policy is undermining and hurting our troops is not democracy nor what this country has stood for, for over 200 years.”
Chuck Hagel - 2005

One was a President of the United States, and a war veteran.

The other is a serving Senator from Nebraska, and a war veteran.

Both have the same idea.

To listen to the Bush Administration and its more strident supporters, all of us are to fall in behind the President and march off in lockstep toward victory when he commands us to do so. Any criticism is "irresponsible," and any dissent is "unpatriotic" and "enables terrorists." However, this is still America.

Let me repeat that.

This is still America.

Within certain boundaries (such as not yelling "Fire!" in a crowded theater), you can say what you please in this country, and there is no one to stop you. In fact, you can even - gasp! - make fun of the elected leaders. After all, we allow terrorist groups dedicated to the violent overthrow of the American way of life (the Klan, Aryan Nations, etc.) to demonstrate in public.

As for enabling terrorists, it could be reasonably argued that President Bush and his policies in Iraq and throughout Southwest Asia have done more to recruit terrorists than Osama bin Laden ever could.

No wonder the Bush Administration wishes to stifle dissent or criticism. It doesn't want to have to defend its actions in public.

I cite the quote from Theodore Roosevelt because he was the archetype of a conservative. He was also a great deal more compassionate than the current Administration, and in my considered opinion President Bush is not worthy to tie TR's shoes.

It's my Constitutional right to say that.

Just my opinion.


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