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Posted by on Apr 23, 2006 in At TMV | 11 comments

Patriotism and dissent

In a speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace (a wonderful part of the city that I frequented regularly during my years at Tufts), John Kerry said that dissent during wartime is patriotic, “a response to Republican critics who insist that questioning the conduct of the war in Iraq emboldens America’s enemies,” according to a report in The Washington Post.

Said Kerry: “I believed then [in 1971, when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee], just as I believe now, that it is profoundly wrong to think that fighting for your country overseas and fighting for your country’s ideals at home are contradictory or even separate duties. They are, in fact, two sides of the very same patriotic coin.”

He may indeed be running a “shadow presidential campaign,” and I wish he’d been this aggressive back when he was running a real campaign in ’04, but he’s absolutely right about this.

It’s been said that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel, but I would argue that questioning the patriotism of one’s political opponents, calling them traitors and their opposition treason, is truly the political scoundrel’s last refuge. And that’s exactly what some Republicans and conservatives have been doing. With nothing else going for them, they’ve repeatedly played the patriotism card, whether it’s on Iraq or the Patriot Act or NSA eavesdropping or prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. It’s been absolutely shameful, a thorough debasing of America’s already debased political culture. Democrats, and indeed all opponents of the White House and its Republican lackeys (including Republicans like John McCain and Chuck Hagel), need to stand firm in their patriotic dissent.

They are the true patriots, after all, and in John Kerry they have a proud and honorable spokesman.


I previously addressed this topic here and here.

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Yup. Dissent is what patriotism IS. When you tell people to stop expressing themselves, THAT’S unAmerican, undemocratic, and unpatriotic as is gets.

    You want to argue with a view you disagree with, fine. But when you silence dissent, you have scored a victory for those who legitimately threaten freedom. In fact, that’s probably the best way to know when your democracy is in trouble – you hear no dissent.

  • wickedpinto

    This isn’t about having different opinions. This is about acting aggressively against the existing government for personal purposes. Bennedict Arnold was a Dissenter from the particular political opinion at the time. Is he a Patriot? (granted thats an extreme case, but, not invalid)

  • kitebro

    “acting aggressively against the existing government for personal purposes”? Personal puposes. I guess that would be me. I personally want our government back. I personally want Bush in prison along with his cohorts. Kerry’s right. Bush is wrong. That is my personal opinion. I hope we hear more politicians telling it like it is. Of course, they risk being compared to Bennedict Arnold, but most thinking people know that that is nonsense.

  • wickedpinto

    He hasn’t been convicted, and if the dem’s had REAL convictions they would wage a losing battle of impeachment in the house, or they would support an investigation in the senate.

    The dem’s don’t have the courage of their convictions, thats why they manipulate fools like Mary, to serve their purposes in the hopes of staying behind the scenes just long enough to usurp a LAWFULY ELECTED GOVERNMENT! Suck it up, and beat the ‘pubs with idea’s. If the dem’s have idea’s? I might not vote republican. I SO WANT! someone to come up with idea’s, so that I can STOP VOTING AGAINST PEOPLE AND FOR SOMEONE!!!

    And most Thinking people in your realm of thought, prolly don’t even know how tenuous his treason was, until the last minute.

  • JP

    Democrats should be pushing for investigation, as voiced better than anywhere else I’ve seen lately by Carl Bernstein in Vanity Fair. The fact is we DON’T know enough to impeach, and we MAY have enough to Censure but that won’t happen with this Congress.

    Thorough investigation is the next step–and if Bush is not guilty of wrongdoing, that will be proven by reviewing all the facts. If he is, we proceed from there.

    Dissent can never be considered unpatriotic in a thinking man’s republic.

  • wickedpinto

    If the democrats believe in dissent, the democrats within the legislature should dissent. They might loose, but they would stand for a thing, thats called “dissent” even if they lose.

    If you only have the nuts to “dissent” when you think you will win? then you aren’t dissenting, you aren’t standing for a damn thing, you are engaging in HYPERBOLE and RHETORIC, you aren’t dissenting.

    you are being hypocrites

  • CaseyL

    wickedpinto, do you know how the House and Senate work?

    Did you know, f’r instance, that things like investigations, censure, and impeachment have to be agreed on by the relevant committees before they’re brought to the floor of the chamber? Did you know that the Democrats have tried, repeatedly, to get investigations going on the Iraq war and the NSA surveillance program? Did you know that every attempt has been voted down by the GOP majority?

    If you know these things, then why are you slamming the Democrats for not investigating Bush, when you are perfectly well aware that the GOP has stopped every investigation in its tracks?

    If you don’t know these things (and by the general tenor of your comments, it seems to me you’re unfamiliar with American political process and history) then I suggest you learn them.

  • kritter

    Which is why the Dems know that they have to win back one of the houses of Congress to have any chance to bring up these matters.
    Bush knows that if Republicans lose the House or Senate these investigations will tie up the White House indefinitely, and it will be the end of the Bush presidency. The Dems are still mad about Clinton, and will seek revenge.
    Isn’t that really why Karl Rove is going back on the campaign trail?( Bush may have been a colossal failure in office, but the Bush/Rove team was a great success on the campaign trail, and while few Republicans want to get too close to Bush, they are happy to have Karl working for their re-election behind the scenes.) Watch for some really nasty races in ’06

  • liberalhawk

    Impeaching Clinton was bad for the GOP, and impeaching Bush would be bad for the Dems. We dont have a parliamentary system, and you cant impeach someone cause you dont like his policies. Lets try to formulate alternative policies, and elect someone more to our liking.

  • chaos7023

    In wickedpinto’s world, legislators apparently can only truly dissent by calling for or enacting articles of impeachment. Things like floor statements, presenting legislative alternatives, and just plain saying “I disagree with the president” don’t count. Are you kidding me?

  • wickedpinto

    Chaos? In my world, you stand up for a thing, even if the victory is not assured. In my world, you stand up for a thing because you believe in a thing. In my world, you believe before you accuse, and in my world, you don’t use the judgements of others to justify your own righteousnous, but rather, you grow within yourself by judging yourself, despite the attitudes, and beliefs of others.

    You pick nobility for yourself, my guess? Is that most won’t believe your choice is noble, just opportunistic.

    TITLE: On Treason…
    BLOG NAME: In Search Of Utopia
    I’m not a big Kerry fan, especially since I think he wimped out in the Presidential campaign. But this is right on point: In a speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall marketplace (a wonderful part of the city that I frequented…

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