Beware the dim-witted false patriots who ignorantly declare unpatriotic anyone who should dare to question critically any aspect of our country. It is a narrow, limited mind whose best argument is “Love it, or leave it”.
Our country was founded on freedom, freedom that most expressly protects the right to express ourselves.
It is a curious paradox that people who declare someone unpatriotic for expressing a dissenting point of view would also reject the violence perpetrated in countries such as Iran against their people for doing so.
These people use a warped argument that because we do not (usually) beat people with sticks or (usually) shoot them or imprison them for openly dissenting, that nobody in the US should be dissenting. Their reaction to dissent is to declare that dissention here is unwanted and even a cause to suggest lack of national loyalty.
How can one simultaneously decry the cruelty and injustice of leaders in the world who violently suppress dissension and then turn to our fellow citizens and tell them love it or leave it?
I think it is a sign of the failure of our educational system to teach children to use their critical thinking skills that the best argument many people have is “shut the hell up”. It shows an intellectual weakness that may be prone to perversion by verbose talking heads, virulent leadership, or an evil and charismatic political personality.
If Americans have lost the ability to think and express themselves critically, to engage in informed dialogue that intelligently argues with a clear understanding of all sides of the issues, then we have failed our ancestors who came here to give us freedom from being told what to think and believe.
If citizens are derided as unpatriotic for expressing a point of view that asks questions about the status quo and group-think of the country, then we aren’t any better off than the countries we criticize and we are just a baton swing away from their level. If debate is unpatriotic, we have already lost the precious freedom of expression that fuels informed argumentation so healthy to our political system.
So let’s not be lazy in our argumentation Americans. Let’s take the time to understand all sides of an issue so we are prepared to argue our position clearly, intelligently and convincingly. Let’s lay out our argument, listen to each other and work through differences without questioning the patriotism of those with dissenting points of view. To restrict freedom, now that is unpatriotic.
“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” George Washington