Thursday, September 02, 2004

I walk the line

Zell Miller's rant last night, thinly veiling his disgust for dissent, got me thinking. We've often been helpfully reminded by certain right-leaning folk who are suspicious of the card-carrying ACLU types that soldiers died for your right to protest. Or as Zell put it last night, " is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest."

Which, yeah. I know.

The thing that always gets me about this line of argument, is that it's usually delivered as a rebuke, an argument against protesters or dissenters or whoever. Otherwise, why state the obvious? The unspoken end of that sentence is you are abusing the rights that someone died to grant you. It seems to imply, to me, that the best way to honor those freedoms that our countrymen died for is to never use them at all.

That someone died for these freedoms makes them all the more precious, dear, and worthy of exercise. They aren't to be put up on a very high shelf, only brought down and dusted off for very special occasions. Who is truly honoring the memory of those lost protecting our liberties—a citizen openly questioning the performance of his government, or a citizen who labels such thinking as an abuse, as treason?


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