What American means | VailDaily.com

What American means

Vail Daily Editorial
Vail CO, Colorado

What’s more American than Americans demonstrating when they feel their government is headed in the wrong direction?

Whether you agree with them or not, the Eagle County residents who will protest the Iraq war tonight will be exercising a freedom that makes America special: disagreeing non-violently with the their president and his administration.

Rather than being unpatriotic or traitorous ” or unsupportive of the troops ” it is more appropriate to call it their civic duty to express their beliefs when they’ve decided their government is making a mistake.

And in all likelihood the protesters won’t have their teeth kicked in by secret police or goon squads. They won’t be run out of town by pitchfork-wielding mobs.

Those who don’t share their views will simply stand across the street with their own signs and symbols, because another thing that makes America special is that, most of the time, the opposition also disagrees non-violently.

In other parts of the world protesting can be a deadly, violent endeavor, and perhaps this is the real message anti-war activism ” or any activism that advocates freedom or civil rights ” sends to the enemy.

The protesters are not, as the administration threatens so callously, “emboldening” the enemy.

They are showing those with whom we are supposed to be sharing democracy that the American system gives citizens the right to disagree safely and as often as they want.

The protesters also are showing those we hope will adopt our form of government that the way of life it creates is special enough that it is sufficient to carry Americans through governments whose policies they oppose.

” Matt Zalaznick for the Editorial Board

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