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Kevin

What constantly dismays me is that this country has becoming a place where a person's different perspective on events is ridiculed. People might disagree in what one believes, but why is that person's view of seeing something labeled and dismissed as being liberal or left wing. Why is it that if someone view of life is different from others it is so summarily dismissed?? Wasn't this country started over the principles of dissent and wanting a seeking a better way of life? I know that is one of the things I learned when I was in grade school. Perhaps someone needs to tell that to our President. Just look at how he deals with dissent. Where does it say that those opinions not shared by you should be dismissed as misguided rhetoric?? Isn't the freedom of speech one of this country's most cherished rights?? Perhaps I am wrong? This country is currently at war in Iraq to give it's people the rights of freedom of speech and other freedoms that they hadn't enjoyed under Saddam. That has to be the reason since there were no WMD's and the imminent threat was not there. I just think it is sort of funny (not really funny) that while young American men and women are dying to defend these goals and principles we hold so dear, that people stateside are just being dismissed and ridiculed for seeing things in a different light:

"In a democracy dissent is an act of faith. Like medicine, the test of its value is not in its taste, but in its effects."
J. William Fulbright, US Senator (1905-1995)

"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
Edward R. Murrow

"No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots."
Barbara Ehrenreich

"Without debate, without criticism, no administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive."
John F. Kennedy.

Let me close by saying that this is not a personal attack on Peg or others. I been allowed to stress my views on this site, and have yet to be summarily dismissed or treated rudely (at least I hope not). But this is more of a view that I see throughout the United States in and a growing trend that I believe has started with George W. Bush in how dissent and a difference of opinion is being stifled.

Eskimo

Kevin

Your statement of people being dismissed because of their liberal or leftist views is the same kind of thing conservatives have dealt with for years. If I had a dollar every time I was called a 'racist, bigot, fascist or nazi' simply because I had a different view than someone else, I'd be rich. The tool of calling someone a (pick your 'ist') is something liberals have used as a debating tool for ages. Conservatives supporting welfare reform in the 90's were denounced as racist despite the fact that the majority of welfare recipients are white. Announce you don't believe in the gay lifestyle because you're a Catholic and you'll get homophobe pinned on you. This was par for the course when I was in college 15 years ago and I haven’t seen it change much since.

The country has not 'become' that way, it’s been that way, the problem now for many on the left is that now they're being targeted mainly because I think people have simply gotten tired of listening to the same tired rhetoric.

No one is being jailed for speaking out, or ‘dissenting’ as you say. You have freedom of speech you do not have freedom from criticism. There is a difference. In Kerry's case, you can't denigrate your fellow soldiers 30 years ago and say the war was a mistake and then now call them your band of brothers and say you 'defended the country'. To do that and NOT expect criticism is a bit delusional.

Peg K

Kevin and Eskimo - I hate to categorize people into large "isms" and make sweeping pronouncements about them.

I will say, however, that the two letter writers above that I quote do seem to be more liberal than they are conservative. And, at least these two individuals seem quite comfortable shutting down the free speech rights of those on the right (the "liars") and allowing free speech for those on the left (those discussing "the issues.")

George W. Bush DID sign the McCain-Feingold stomp on free speech into law, Kevin - so, in that regard, I do agree with you that he "stifled dissent."

Nevertheless, certainly plenty on the left applauded when McCain-Feingold became law, so I don't know that GWB should be viewed as the ringleader in speech restraint.

If you care for other examples - then think about the wire cage that was reserved for protestors outside the Democrat National Convention in Boston.

Forget the "isms." Just speak out against those who wish to take away our right to political speech, wherever they may be!

Eskimo

Peg

The other issue with the two writers in your post is that they accept as an article of faith that the Swift Boat ads are filled with 'lies', yet MoveOn.org is simply stating 'facts'; like equating Bush with Hitler.

I've said it before, Kerry probably did serve admirably in Vietnam, I wasn't there so I won't judge. He put himself in harms way, so be it. What did after the war was NOT admirable and that is what is being scrutinized. If he never brought up the 'John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty' schtick, none of this would have any meaning. Unfortunately consistency does not appear to be a strong point with many Kerry backers.

Billy

The fact that ANY member of any party wishes to stiffle criticism via McCain-Feingold or any other such "law" is reprehensible.

Our great nation has ways of dealing with lies - these are the libel and slander laws. They should be used. Opinions and criticisms should be laid bare for all to judge - without fear and intimidation.

Our politicians are not above criticism - and that they think they are is frightening.

I suggest our elitist federal government start acting like adults and accepting criticisms. It won't be long before a small group of average Americans will have the resources to make their own political adds supporting or criticizing a candidate or a policy. That's a sign of how wealthy we are as a nation and how much power we the People have. Our leaders' concern over "smear tactics" and "lies" is merely a cover for their fear of the growing power of the People.

Too many Americans have simply forgotten: the People run this country, not the government.

theyeti

I don't see how this post is anything but great supporting evidence for Gilbert and Carson's POV.

The problem with your argument is that the SBVT ads presented "facts" which turned out to be complete and utter lies - and no one has been able to prove otherwise. They definitely have a first amendment right to do so, but that doesn't make them any less of scumbags, and it doesn't take away the right of normal, sane people to call them out on it.

Meanwhile, the only thing anyone can come up with against MoveOn is the ad comparing Bush with Hitler. Never mind that they didn't even produce the ad and that they took it down when people complained. It's a valid comparison, no matter your opinion on it. Such a comparison is based on factual information from the public records of the two men, whereas the SBVT's ad is based on bullshit pulled out of thin air.

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