Posted by: Jim | December 9, 2004


Baseball, Apple Pie, Mom, and Dissent

How long has it been since I’ve ranted? A day? Hmmm, too much time. Must rant again.

I read over at POPS’ BUCKET(my latest new link. He’s worth checking out!) that he’s perceived three instances of ideological thuggery in recent days. I agreed with everything Pops said, and offer up high-fives to him in whatever particularly cool way that 30-year-olds do.

But Pops got me rethinking about something that really had my blood boiling this past election. It’s a concept that is creeping like an intruder into the boudoir of American thought:

“Dissent is Un-American.”

I have heard implications of this SO many times in the past year.

I believe my readers are of a high enough caliber that I don’t need to explain why this thought is wrong. Dissent is part of the fabric of the American persona. I think you all know this, but if I have to I could get out of my chair and go get my copy of deToqueville’s “Democracy in America.” I’d really rather not though, because I used the book to defend myself in a home invasion and it’s still got blood on it. (Not really, but it’s a funny thought. It’s a huge book.)

So now we’re beset with ideas like “dissent is un-American.” Do concepts like this always nip at the heels of democracy? And have so many Americans always been willing to soak them up like a Brawny paper towel?

I’ve been tempted to say that we’re suffering from a paradigm shift—from the rugged independent pioneer to the passive, pliable rube. But then I think better of it. For every man who led his family across the Rockies, there were 10 more who saw the Rockies and said, “Wow, Denver sure is gorgeous.”

The fact is, that the leaders in thought and in action have always been in the minority, and today is no exception. People who imply that dissent is un-American are not leaders; they are just rabid followers. On the other hand, people who DO dissent are creative and courageous. They are people who look at the status quo and say “I can do better than this.” Then they do something about it. These are true leaders. They’re not always right, mind you, but everything that is right probably started off with someone who was a dissenter.

So any time I hear some pseudo-intellectual who implies that we should all just “go with the flow” and that dissent is somehow “bad” … I just smile and nod and know that I am dealing with someone who does not have what it takes to lead this country anywhere worthwhile.


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