Dishonesty from the RIght
March 23, 2002
By Lois Erwin
We don't need "patriotism police" or "dissent deniers" in
We especially don't need Bill Bennett and Lynne Cheney, with
their cute little committees to tell us how to be good Americans,
or how to be loyal Americans, or what our rights as Americans
We all have copies of the Constitution of the United States.
We can read what that precious document guarantees to all
Americans: the right to speak, to assemble, to think, without
Yes, there are specific laws in the land prohibiting us from
yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theater when there is no
fire. But that is not what Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Cheney are
all about with their little committees - AVOL and ACTA; they
are out to stop us from speaking within the framework of existing
In other words, there are NO laws on the books that prohibit
dissent in time of war. If there had been, surely Republicans
like the elder Senator Taft and presidential candidate Thomas
E. Dewey (during World War II) and Senator Trent Lott (during
the Balkans war) would have been in violation of such a law.
They ALL, during wartime, dissented vigorously from the presidents'
waging of those wars. Not only did those Republicans dissent,
they pronounced their perfect right to dissent even, and especially,
No, we don't need Bill Bennett and/or Lynne Cheney to monitor
our patriotism. We can do that for ourselves. By implying
that they have some inherent right to police our patriotism,
they are being intellectually dishonest, because they both
They both know they have no such right. They have no additional
rights beyond what any American has, which is the perfect
right to be critical of anyone else.
What Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Cheney are hoping is that many
if not most of us do not know what our rights in America are
- or worse, that we know but will be too intimidated by their
"patriotism" committees to exercise those rights.
They hope to stifle dissent against the war. They hope to
shut us up so we won't criticize George W. Bush as he stomps
all over the world waging war wherever there are oil interests
at stake or, in some places, just for the heck of it. They
hope to control us.
Well, all they have that we don't have is committees.
So, I am here and now forming my own committee. The Committee
to Ferret Out Phony Patriots. There, now I have a committee
to monitor THEIR doings. So, they will monitor us, and I will
I am sure Bill Bennett could beat me at leg-wrestling (maybe
Lynne could too!), and I am sure Lynne Cheney could beat me
at being vitriolic; but I will take them both on when it comes
to being a good American. I will take them both on when it
comes to being a loyal American.
So, let's have at it, Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Cheney. Do your
worst; you should be good at that - lots of experience. And
I will do my best.
I am an American!