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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, May 17, 2024

Dissent has patriotic uses

Over the past month I've noticed an unfortunate trend developing in this country. Many people seem to believe speaking out against war is anti-American, and this is frustrating. Since when did exercising freedom of speech become unpatriotic?  




After voicing my anti-war opinions a few weeks ago, I received some angry comments. I was most upset to read one that said I should stand behind President Bush's decision because it has already been made. Why should I change my opinion on the war based on what Bush thinks? I didn't vote for him in 2000, so why should I support him now? 




I believe patriotism is standing up for yourself and exercising the rights granted by the constitution, not blindly following leaders. People have always disagreed with our government, and that is to be expected and encouraged. Siding with our leaders on a decision when you disagree does not make you patriotic, it means you haven't decided for yourself. 




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Another disturbing claim is that people against the war don't support the troops. It is ridiculous to believe I don't wish the best for our troops just because I don't think war was entirely necessary. After all, it was our government who gave them orders.  




On a related matter, I've been told I don't respect my freedom of speech because I write anti-war and anti-Bush opinions while our military protects my rights. However, the ability to write my opinions is one of the most fundamental aspects of freedom of speech, and exercising this right is one of the most patriotic things that can be done. 




Perhaps one of the most debatable issues I've encountered is that I should support the war because President Bush is working to prevent another terrorist attack. Once again, I don't believe there is a link between being anti-war and being against preventing terrorism. I believe we are creating more enemies than allies in the Middle East, which increases the threat of future terrorist attacks. 




I find it nearly impossible to support Bush's terrorist prevention tactics because he seems to get caught in the moment. I remember Osama bin Laden being the No. 1 threat, but before we eliminated him we moved on to Iraq. Now that the main battles are over there, our government is threatening Syria, yet we haven't resolved Saddam Hussein. How can I support a government that seems so short-sighted on terrorist prevention? How is that unpatriotic? 




Since Bush has come to power I haven't agreed with many of his decisions. I have obvious problems with his foreign and environmental policies. I am not alone in any of these feelings. And yet, nobody called me anti-American when I voiced displeasure with these issues.  




Being labeled anti-American for exercising my freedom of speech is ridiculous. I love this country, and I respect all my freedoms. I don't believe there is a link between being anti-war and anti-American. These misperceptions need to stop so that anyone can express their views without being considered unpatriotic. 




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