This Weeks Letters
June 23, 2005
It's a sad thing when people confuse patriotism with loyalty to a leader or party instead of to a nation's founding principles (Letters to the editor, Jun. 16, 2005). Witness the spectacle of a ruling party accusing those who disagree with its actions as hating their country when they are really trying to restore balance.
One difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that allegiance is pledged to the laws and values of the constitution rather than to a partisan leader who insists on having it all his way.
Actually, our leaders are sworn to defend the constitution, and efforts to undermine its guarantees are rightly seen as grounds for impeachment, dismissal, even punishment.
Tyrants try to rule public thought and speech by controlling public discussion, by intimidating questioners and critics while suppressing inconvenient facts and resistance.
Thanks to a free press, decent public education, a Fairness Doctrine and public broadcasting, we were long defended against deceitful domination by one faction.
Unfortunately, President Reagan got rid of the Fairness Doctrine, most mass media and press are now owned by a few large corporations, public schools are failing, and public broadcasting has been intimidated.
Under these circumstances, patriotism for many means supporting the ruling administration, even if it seeks to dismantle the constitution, unfairly favors supporters, makes a mockery of science and truth, routinely violates agreements and openly behaves the way it accuses its enemies of doing.
Self-righteously deluded dogmatists are tragically unable to see their own sins; instead they despise them in others as scapegoats.
-Daniel Grantham, Haiku
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