Discourse is important

Don’t worry – it’s still all right to be different. It’s still all right to deviate. It’s still all right to disagree. It’s still all right not to force views on others. It’s still all right to be logical and fair. It’s still all right to be truthful.

And no matter what the Bush administration does, it’s still all right to question authority.

Sadly, though, those who do so are criticized everyday by pundits like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and anybody on the Fox News Channel for questioning things Bush says and does.

They’ll slap words like “unpatriotic,” “un-American” and “America hater” on your forehead, when in fact you embody everything America should be and are the only voice out there willing to say something so America does not become what it was never intended to be: controlled and biased.

It seems these groupies would rather live in a nation where we’re not allowed to question our leaders, where we don’t have certain rights such as freedom of speech and the right to protest.

For a dose of the groupies’ way of thinking, here’s an example from a section on Rush Limbaugh’s Web site dedicated to Limbaugh’s quotes. One reads, “The Democratic Party stands for your misery. The more miserable you are, the happier the Democrats will be.”

When Limbaugh bashed President Bill Clinton on a daily basis during his presidency, did Limbaugh consider himself unpatriotic and a hater of America? Probably not. Like those who disagree with Bush today, he probably thought of himself as the opposite.

Like President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by the president right or wrong is not only unpatriotic and servile but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

Meanwhile, Bush, his neocon groupies and the Republicans as a whole are regressive. For instance, Bush wants government-recognized marriage reserved for heterosexuals and heterosexuals only, saying, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, and I think we ought to codify that one way or another.”

Bush has been in office more than four years and walking all over social issues the entire time.

Bush wants to create a Constitutional amendment to enforce his homophobic belief — and 11 of 11 states killed gay-marriage initiatives in November 2004.

Apparently in this country, it seems people like nothing more than telling other people what is right and what is not.

And it seems this country, not to mention the entire world, would be far more peaceful if people stopped doing that.

For some mysterious reason, Bush gets a free pass, and the conservative groupies expect us to just let him get away with anything and everything he wants.

For example, Bush could send America into war on the notion that a country has illegally obtained weapons of mass destruction only to find, months later, that the country we invaded did not really have any WMDs, and the groupies would find some rationale for Bush.

Wait. Oops.

Again, look at your president. Again and again, he guaranteed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Over and over, he told you he was right.

He was assured.




And now, after no WMDs have surfaced, over 1,600 U.S. citizens have died for that fictional weaponry. They died for a belief, not a fact. And that’s just not acceptable.

And when the U.S. inspectors ended the search for WMDs in Iraq recently without finding any, all that I ask is why do a majority of Americans refuse to question anything their leader says and “believes” in?

Because if we’ve learned anything, we’ve learned that we should not.

Our president is wrong more often than not — at least he is more wrong than he might be right.

So, don’t worry. It’s still all right to disagree. In fact, it’s the most American thing you can do.

I think we can all agree on that.

John Calkins is a junior majoring in journalism. oraclecalkins@yahoo.com