One of first values forefathers taught was value of protesting

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2003

I am a person who dislikes assumptions, therefore I feel compelled to address the letter that Doug Ruzicka wrote on July 11.

Based on a single symbol that of the planet Earth Mr. Ruzicka asserts that the protesters are members of an organization he identifies as "Not In Our Name." It goes without saying that this single symbol does not constitute enough evidence to warrant such an assertion. Furthermore, it should go without saying that if these protesters are not members of said organization, then Mr. Ruzicka is potentially guilty of libel and subject to civil lawsuit by any protester who feels maligned.

Freedom of speech does not guarantee the right to freely falsely accuse. I find it interesting that while Mr. Ruzicka is condemning an organization for criminal behavior and by assumed association, likewise condemning individuals of criminal behavior, he himself is actually potentially guilty of unlawful behavior. Ironic, isn't it?

Incidentally, to the best of my knowledge, it is not unlawful to encourage someone to employ ethical or moral judgment, which is what I am led to believe this organization, "Not In Our Name," is advocating when they suggest that soldiers file for "conscientious objector status." Nor is it unlawful, to the best of my knowledge, for anyone to support an organization that encourages high ethical or moral behavior.

In fact, one could argue that it's not unlawful for someone to suggest that another commit unlawful behavior. I would think that the real issue would be whether or not an individual actually committed an unlawful act (i.e., I could suggest that someone steal a car, but it's the actual theft of the car that is illegal).

Ultimately, it's all about personal responsibility no one can make anyone do anything without his or her consent. The choice may be unpleasant, but it's still a choice.

As for the protesters and the water-dousing incident, I wasn't there. I didn't see the protesters, nor did I witness the incident. What I can say,

objectively, is that if I personally disagree with what another person is doing, I have the same rights as my opponent in this particular case, if I had been the one offended by the presence of the protesters, I could have made up my own protest signs and stood on the opposite corner, quietly protesting the protesters. The Constitution gives me that right.

Speaking of government documents and protesting and proper American behavior, our forefathers were the ultimate protesters. Read the Declaration of Independence.

One also could point out that our forefathers utilized terrorist acts to secure the freedom of this country from England. Mind you I do not support any behavior that has as its sole purpose to instill terror! Nonetheless, Sherman's "march to the sea" and the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima were both American-sanctioned military actions that were employed specifically for the terror-factor, with the intent to end a war by

completely demoralizing the enemy. Both actions achieved the desired end result.

The point is we must be careful when throwing stones at another, for our own behavior is rarely exemplary.

Do I support our troops? You betcha! I have only the highest respect for the warriors, both male and female, who offer to risk their own lives so that I may live my life in safety.

Do I support the current wars? Yes and no. Yes, I feel like we should have swiftly retaliated for the attacks that occurred Sept. 11, 2001. No, we shouldn't have declared a "war on terrorism" because that declaration is just too egocentrically stupid for words (one man's terrorist is another man's freedom-fighter).

Iraq? Let me just say the current war with Iraq too closely resembles the last war with Iraq, and that both times a Bush was president, and we just don't ever seem to actually win those wars, so I'm suspicious of the whole thing.

Yes, I support our troops by endeavoring to save their lives by saying no to our government. Would it be preferable that I encourage our government to send more of our brave warriors off to die? Which is the greater act of love to save or to destroy?

By the way, I am an American. I support American values. One of the first values our forefathers taught us was the value of protesting.

Long live the American protester! Huzzah!

Elaine Hall, Clam Gulch



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