Thursday, July 3, 2008

Pride and Disapproval - Virginia Martin Letter to the Editor in Register-Star

Concerning your paper’s reporting on the Flag Day Parade: I want to commend all who follow current events and look at them with critical eyes. And I want to acknowledge, respectfully, those whose patriotism is so intense that it is painful for them to hear their country being criticized.

The good men and women who founded this country understood that the future of their newly united states would be fraught with such situations, where two (or two million) with sharply divided opinions would find themselves very much at odds. Our founders knew that strong disagreement would be extraordinarily difficult. They feared that democracy might not survive such tensions.

But tensions like these are inherent in democracy. Indeed, our unfettered ability to state our views is one of our country’s most cherished, important, and distinguishing features.

National polls in which citizens do just that— state their views—reveal that nearly 70% of us disapprove of the actions our president has taken. I tip my hat to a country that, without threatening any retribution, allows the people to voice their opposition and the media to publish their statements.

Another tip of the hat to a country whose citizens, in the midst of this disapproval, are motivated to participate in a parade honoring that country and its ideals. I marched in that parade, and you can count me among the disapproving 70 or so percent. But make no mistake, I marched with great pride in the knowledge that we citizens have the power to change our country’s direction.

I love my country. It’s true that much that my country is doing right now I find completely unlovable. But, I love having the opportunity to help change what my country does, and I’m proud that my country has survived these 232 years, despite the difficulties.

Virginia Martin
Claverack