Letters to the Editor

Dissenting Opinions

To the Editor:

B. Keith English's Viewpoint column ("Is Dissent Un-American?," March 27th issue) illustrates two hallmarks of the American left and most liberals. First, it is obviously full of passionate good intentions. However, my late, beloved Granny told me many times just which road is paved with good intentions. One might wonder whether the thousands of Iraqi families who have been subjected to repression, rape, nerve-gas attack, or murder by Saddam's regime really appreciate English's ardor for peace at any price. Perhaps the better educated of them, unlike many Americans, remember our European "friends" in the 1930s who, among other acts in the zealous pursuit of peace, handed Czechoslovakia to Hitler.

Second and foremost, his editorial is built on a base of hypocrisy, a trait so common in the left that it has its own doublespeak: "situational ethics." Just as a liberal can say that burning the American flag in front of veterans is a protected freedom and that displaying the Confederate flag is a hate crime which should be banned, English has simultaneously embraced contradictory standards for free speech and protest. If one agrees with English, then the full standards of freedom and tolerance are in effect. However, those who disagree or are subject to his disapproval are ignorant thugs pandering to the mob and suppressing free speech.

English is correct in saying the flap about Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks is instructive. According to him, trashing the president while overseas is just fine, but trashing someone who trashed the president isn't. If Teddy Roosevelt wasn't or George Bush in wartime isn't above criticism, why are Natalie Maines or Tom Daschle?

English has no trouble trashing any columnist, talk-show host, or Republican with whom he disagrees, yet clearly he feels it is not acceptable when these same people exercise their right of free speech to trash selfish ideological and political partisans (including certain Democrats) when over 100,000 American troops are in harm's way. Even Saddam Hussein gets more tolerance from English than those who dare criticize the left and its blind peacemongering.

I don't mind disagreeing with anyone. I do mind hypocrisy.

Herbert E. Kook Jr.


To the Editor:

Thank you for publishing B. Keith English's Viewpoint about the rabid put-down of dissent by some Americans. English's column shows the underlying fascist mentality that lies just below the surface in the body politic. When the American people quit respecting each other's right to speak their mind on the monumental issue of war and its consequences, then the freedom we all take for granted means nothing.

The depth of support for war wanes as the body bags pile up. During the Vietnam era, mainstream America eventually quit supporting an "unwinnable" war. The war in Iraq may also prove to have too high a price to pay for "victory."

Once the country commits soldiers to battle, we should always support their mission. But common sense tells us that we should always be vigilant about how the war is going and not support a disastrous military blunder that costs precious lives on both sides.

Randy Norwood


Speed Trap?

To the Editor:

In "Speeding Up" (City Reporter, March 20th issue), Bianca Phillips quoted a spokesperson in TDOT's public affairs office as saying: "We look at how fast folks are traveling. If the average motorist is going 65-70 mph with all other factors considered, then a lot of thought is given to the fact that the speed limit should be changed."

That is a poor excuse for raising the speed limit. Would we advocate altering anything whenever there is a tendency on the part of "law-abiding" citizens to violate it? I was under the impression that the 55 mph limit greatly reduced the amount of carnage on the highway. Many people who are alive and well today would be dead if it had not been for a Congress that lowered speed limits nationwide from 75 to 55 in the 1970s.

I am afraid raising the speed limits will result in raising something else: traffic fatalities. "A lot of thought" should be given to that.

Arthur Prince


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