Sean Poindexter, Senior Sociology Major

Dear Chart,

Far be it from me to distract your readers from the gripping coverage of David Locher’s salary scandal (an affair I’ve taken to calling “Lochergate”), but I have noriced the fermentation of a sentiment, both locally and nationwide, that I feel the need to address.

Lately, current world events have inspired me to become even more vocal about my dissaproval of President Bush than usual. However, to my amazement (and dismay) I’ve begun to run across people with the notion that putting down President Bush is not only disrespectful, but un-patriotic and even (yes) un-American. In short, if I don’t agree with or approve of the President, then I must hate my country.

At first, one might be driven away from this by the sheer hypocricy of this sentiment, considering that it is most often expressed by individuals who were more than happy to berate President Clinton while he was in office; most of whom continue to blame current economic and social unrest on him even though he has no political power left. However, to focus on this is to miss an even more insidious ideal: the belief that expressing unfavorable (and possibly unpopular) opinions about our current President is anti-American, and that disliking George W. Bush is equal to hating one’s own country.

Hogwash. I think our president is doing a lousy job, and I don’t think that belief makes me less of an American than anyone who fanatically supports him. Some question my opinion by asking if I honestly think Gore would have done a better job. I submit to you that a spastic primate would do a better job leading the free world than the war mongering, illiterate crook that has illegally accended to the Presidency. As a homo sapien, Gore falls well beyond these parameters, though to what degree is a matter of debate. Is this opinion disrespectful? Without a doubt, yes. But is it un-American?

It is possible that I am wrong (though I’m not) but that isn’t the point. I’m not here to debate if we have a good President or not. The point I am trying to make is that I can express my views and still be an American, and to accuse me of hating my country just because I don’t approve of our leader is both insulting and ignorant. The freedom to say openly that one doesn’t approve of the President without fear of being beaten in the streers or hauled off to a camp and tourtured to death is a sacred and beautiful right, on which the American Constitution recognizes as fundamental and self-evident for ALL human beings. It is one of the things in this world worth fighting and dying for, and those of you who don’t understand this yet continue to taunt the dogs of war and rattle empty scabbards are missing the point entirely.

You don’t have to respect my opinion, you don’t even have to respect me; but you do have to respect the fact that I am and American, and that I can love my country and feel the way I do.