By Ernest Partridge, The
It was bound to happen sooner or later. Bernie Weiner and
I open a progressive web site (The
Crisis Papers) and write a few dissenting essays, and
sure enough, we get an e-mail such as this:
Are you people stoned? If you truly hate America as
much as you appear to, why not leave? Those of us who still
maintain some shred of sanity and who are not a hoard [sic]
of wacked out conspiricy [sic] theorists would certainly
not stand in your way... How sad that we in this great nation,
have among us such a number of anti-American, anti-human
rights, liberal-minded followers who are incapable of trully
[sic] original thought, who time and again spout
regurgitations of misled psuedo [sic] -intellectuals.
This is hardly a unique experience. Republican Administrations
since Nixon have adopted this nasty habit of charging their
critics with "hating America," and the practice persists on
talk radio, the whore media, and from the secure and well-funded
fortifications of the American Enterprise Institute and the
Heritage Foundation. Democrats, liberals and progressives
have, for the most part, chosen not to dignify these smears
Bad advice. Ask former Senator Max Cleland, a Viet Nam War
hero, defeated by a draft-dodger who charged Cleland with
So here is my reply.
Dear Sir and Madame,
No, I do not "hate America." I love America, which is why
I hate what the right-wing zealots are doing to my beloved
country and to its international reputation. These zealots
have bought out our once-free media and have shut out informed
dissent, they have seized control of our government through
an illegal election, they have intimidated the "opposition
party" into meek submission, and worst of all, they are proceeding
to tear up our Bill of Rights and to abscond with our national
wealth and treasure, impoverishing the rest of us and our
In short, because I love America, I despise those who have
taken it away from me and from the vast majority of my compatriots
- including yourselves, dear correspondents, as you might
appreciate if you will only pause for a moment to reflect
upon the news and information that are readily available to
I love America for its founding principle that the people
are sovereign - that the elected leaders obey the will and
serve at the consent of the people, and owe the people an
open and honest account of their stewardship. Furthermore,
I insist that informed scrutiny and criticism of those leaders
and the free and open dissent from their policies, is the
soul of a free society. To condemn criticism of "The Leader"
and to label dissent as "hatred" of America is, to put it
bluntly, "un-American" - a betrayal of the founding principles
of The United States of America. If you don't believe me,
then read the Declaration of Independence and perhaps Mr.
Jefferson and the Founders might convince you.
If you truly cannot tolerate dissent, then you are living
in the wrong country and perhaps it is you who should leave.
On the other hand, maybe you should stay put, for if present
trends continue and Mr. Ashcroft and his Patriot Police have
their way, all dissent will be abolished.
And with it, the United States of America as we know it
and love it.
To prevent which, and in defense of the America we love,
Dr. Weiner and I will continue to write, to dissent and to
protest - unless and until those who truly hate America succeed
in silencing us.