Dissent Is Allowed

There's not much that pisses me off more than the wingnuts' cry that "criticizing the President = high treason and murdering Americans!" There's an editorial in the Observer by a State Representative (Republican-Meck) that sings this same old tune. Here's the response I sent to the Opinion Editor:

Republican State Representative Doug Vinson's opinion piece ("Stop helping our enemies") reprises a now familiar refrain of the far-right: we mustn't criticize the President or his handling of the war in Iraq or the terrorists will think that we are weak. You can be sure that when you hear this tune it is coming from someone who fundamentally misunderstands America's values.

Never mind that if the President had been willing to have a debate before or during the war, much that has gone wrong might have gone differently. And never mind that secrecy and fear have never made a single nation great. The fact is that from the Philadelphia Convention that crafted our Constitution to the discussions that take place today in America's homes and communities, it has been our ability to disagree and work together toward resolution that has catapulted America to heights unimagined by the Founders.

Simply put, the freedom to disagree makes the American democracy great. The enemy may not understand this. The enemy may see our internal debates as a sign of weakness. But we must not pander to terrorist's misconceptions about what makes a nation strong. We must not give up one of our greatest strengths because insurgents in Iraq can't comprehend it. And those--like Doug Vinson--who tell us otherwise are leading us down a path to defeat.

Not by terrorists, but at the hands of those we elected to lead us in courage and who instead lead us into fear and submission.