Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Mighty Jimbo over at Digital Catharsis has a few thoughts on the Bush apologists' accusations that people who criticize the President are unpatriotic.
Those who accuse us of being unpatriotic love to remind us that thousands of men and women have died to protect those freedoms we chose to invoke. I am well aware of this. My grandparents are both veterans, as is my uncle. My brother is an officer in the Marine Corp, and I am proud of him and his decision to be ready to fight for our country.

That doesn’t mean I want him to fight for causes that I believe are amoral or unjust. It’s called Memorial Day because those soldiers are dead. And before we send any more of our children off to kill or to die, aren’t we not only justified but required to question why? If we believe strongly that those sacrifices are not made in the best interests of the world or our country, are we not only justified but required to dissent?
Huzzah, Jimbo. Huzzah!

I too have family that has fought for this country. I had an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War. A war which never would have happened, had our founding fathers not decided to DISSENT against the British monarchy. My grandfather fought in World War II, was involved in the invasion of Normandy (D-Day+1 or D-Day+2, can't remember which), and earned a purple heart and silver star later in the war. He later spent 30 years as a professor in the Journalism Department at the University of Michigan, and never shied away from criticizing the government for actions with which he didn't agree.

The "dissent is un-American" crowd reminds me, in many ways, of Fundamentalist Christians (which many of them are). Fundies thump their Bibles emphatically, all the while picking and choosing which sections of those same Bibles they will ignore, and which they will not only obey, but impose upon others. (Ignore: compassion for the less fortunate and "judge not lest you should be judged," among other things. Impose upon others: restrictions on women's rights, sex, homosexuality, etc.) Likewise, the Über-Patriots thump their American-flag emblazoned chests in righteous indignation against dissent, while picking and choosing which sections of the Constitution they will ignore, and which they will trumpet with pride (only in their case, those sections are one and the same). Ignore: First Amendment's freedom of speech (except theirs), freedom of the press ("it's the liberal media's fault!"), and freedom of religion (again, except theirs). Trumpet: freedom of speech (theirs only), freedom of religion (theirs only), freedom of the press (FOX News, ClearChannel, Sinclair Broadcasting). In both cases, hypocrisy and self-righteousness abound, and compassion and tolerance are sorely lacking.

It's highly ironic that the Über-patriots' attitude against dissenting opinion more closely resembles that of the old Soviet KGB, than the attitudes of the framers of our Constitution. So much for the land of the free!

Quote for the Day: "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."--Voltaire