Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dissent is as American as Mom & Apple Pie.

I am veteran of the Air Force and I fully understand that the military is essential in guarding the borders of a country and in rare circumstances its overseas commitments and interests but it is not the sole reason for freedom and democracy. One of the many misguided beliefs of the conservative right is that whenever there is a protest against any military adventurism it is only by virtue of a strong military that allows it to exist.

I suppose an example would be during the time of Noriega and Panama many people would bring up the ‘Hitler comparison’ and that if we didn’t stop him now he would come up here and take all our freedom away. So, you shouldn’t be so ungrateful as to protest against war because their saving you from being taken over from this horrible man who will take your freedom of speech from you. This represents a far too often used circle of fear based ignorance that’s difficult to break through. It’s been used many times since with the current holder being Ahmadinejad, the relatively low powered president of Iran whose greatest gift and liability are the word bombs he throws out so profusely. Like the previous holder of this dubious honor before him he fails to realize his boisterous attempts to draw support from his base plays into the hands of those who would wish to destroy his nation.

Our Bill of Rights was placed on a pinnacle of honor by our fore fathers and continues by the choice of all the following generations who have equally cherished it to keep it there. Freedom flows from the hearts of the people and is dependent on the amount of love of freedom dwelling there and their courage to keep it or obtain it. If love for freedom is only for ones own close-knit cultural identity or financial security then freedom is less. If on the other hand love for freedom is extended to other cultures freedom is more expansive. If fear, hate and greed enter the picture then freedom is subjugated to that adoration.

Many countries have had strong militaries either relevant to the world or their own citizens and have no freedom of speech or assembly. Any challenge to established power is a tortuous prison sentence or worse, possibly much worse.

I often hear neoconservatives speak of reviving anti sedition laws. It seems they don’t just want to discourage criticism of the Iraq occupation or other military campaigns but to link all public disapproval of the President or his administration to giving aid and comfort to the enemy. This would be a great restriction on freedom. Remember when the old Soviet Union had a powerful army but no freedom. When a love for freedom became manifest among the population it came into being despite the strength of the military loving politicians trying to hold it back.Dissent is a stalwart guardian of freedom and in every country where it is allowed to flourish, while government may be a bit more chaotic, freedom is great.

Freedom does not exist without Dissent.

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