A lesson in democracy from Senator Cornyn

Recently, US Senator John Cornyn of Texas was being honored at a GOP luncheon in Denton, Texas. When he was told that a group of war protesters were demonstrating outside, he, along with County GOP Chair, Diane Edmondson, took the time to address the assemblage and even thank them for exercising their right to free speech.

Not only was it a class act, it spoke volumes about the greatness of our country. Yes, antiwar protestors are attempting to bring us back to the turbulent sixties and seventies when the Vietnam War dominated the headlines. We faced some of the toughest challenges to our Constitution, but we not only survived, we became even stronger and more certain than ever that the exercise of freedom is the cornerstone of a democracy.

When I see the proliferation of protesters in cities across the country, I'm reminded once again how marvelous this country is. Only a great nation allows its citizens to take to the streets, condemning the very government that protects their right to do so. Only a benevolent nation allows its leaders to be portrayed on placards as vicious dictators like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin; when in fact, if those dictators were in charge, there would be no protests, there would be no opposing opinions broadcast on national television, and there would be no newspapers taking sides against the government.

When I see the doctored photos of President Bush sporting a square mustache, and Vice-president Cheney wearing a swastika armband, I find it offensive because it tends to minimize the repugnant reality of true oppression. On the other hand, it emphasizes that in this country you have the freedom to make such ludicrous comparisons without fear of being pulled out of your home in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. Many Americans become angry and outraged by those who would put such an evil face on the same country that stood up to and defeated the Fuhrer, IL Duce, and Emperor Hirohito during a very different time in our history. A time when people understood that freedom was not free, but had to be paid for with an ocean of blood and a million lost limbs. That blood and those limbs paid for the right of those protesters to demonstrate against their country. If their rights were violated, thousands of soldiers would have died for nothing.

For more than 200 years, America has forged the concept of freedom into the spiritual DNA of its offspring, making us more familiar with liberty than any country on earth. Therefore, when we see our fellow citizens taking the time and effort to protest a policy they believe to be inimical to their interests, perhaps we should be thankful that they are testing the strength of our country's dedication to free speech. For, if it were never tested, how would we know it existed?

If those protesters were brutalized or killed while standing up for their right to dissent, we'd know we were no longer living in that "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." In addition, we'd know that if they could be killed for their dissent, how long would it be before we were similarly targeted for ours? We must keep in mind that protest is to America what oppression is to the Axis of Evil. As difficult as it is to see our countrymen give aid and comfort to the enemy, we must substitute our outrage for the pride we share in knowing that the greatness of America is superbly illustrated on the world stage every time it protects a citizen's right to attack it.

Tyrants around the world may enjoy the sight of Americans protesting their government's policies, but the people who have struggle under their brutal domination must wonder what it's like to exercise such freedom. Surely, they secretly fantasize about living in a country where they won't be beaten, mutilated, and murdered for expressing a contrary thought about their leaders.

If we have learned anything from this vast and noble experiment called democracy, we have learned that people are at their best when they can breathe the purified air of freedom and explore the far reaches of the human spirit unhindered by the cruel and stifling yoke of bondage. Hence, we should view the protesters as proof that our system works. Let's not rebuke them for providing the international community with a glimpse of greatness in action. Also, let's thank Senator Cornyn for proving that a lot of brave men and women didn't die in vain.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.
Recently, US Senator John Cornyn of Texas was being honored at a GOP luncheon in Denton, Texas. When he was told that a group of war protesters were demonstrating outside, he, along with County GOP Chair, Diane Edmondson, took the time to address the assemblage and even thank them for exercising their right to free speech.

Not only was it a class act, it spoke volumes about the greatness of our country. Yes, antiwar protestors are attempting to bring us back to the turbulent sixties and seventies when the Vietnam War dominated the headlines. We faced some of the toughest challenges to our Constitution, but we not only survived, we became even stronger and more certain than ever that the exercise of freedom is the cornerstone of a democracy.

When I see the proliferation of protesters in cities across the country, I'm reminded once again how marvelous this country is. Only a great nation allows its citizens to take to the streets, condemning the very government that protects their right to do so. Only a benevolent nation allows its leaders to be portrayed on placards as vicious dictators like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin; when in fact, if those dictators were in charge, there would be no protests, there would be no opposing opinions broadcast on national television, and there would be no newspapers taking sides against the government.

When I see the doctored photos of President Bush sporting a square mustache, and Vice-president Cheney wearing a swastika armband, I find it offensive because it tends to minimize the repugnant reality of true oppression. On the other hand, it emphasizes that in this country you have the freedom to make such ludicrous comparisons without fear of being pulled out of your home in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again. Many Americans become angry and outraged by those who would put such an evil face on the same country that stood up to and defeated the Fuhrer, IL Duce, and Emperor Hirohito during a very different time in our history. A time when people understood that freedom was not free, but had to be paid for with an ocean of blood and a million lost limbs. That blood and those limbs paid for the right of those protesters to demonstrate against their country. If their rights were violated, thousands of soldiers would have died for nothing.

For more than 200 years, America has forged the concept of freedom into the spiritual DNA of its offspring, making us more familiar with liberty than any country on earth. Therefore, when we see our fellow citizens taking the time and effort to protest a policy they believe to be inimical to their interests, perhaps we should be thankful that they are testing the strength of our country's dedication to free speech. For, if it were never tested, how would we know it existed?

If those protesters were brutalized or killed while standing up for their right to dissent, we'd know we were no longer living in that "one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all." In addition, we'd know that if they could be killed for their dissent, how long would it be before we were similarly targeted for ours? We must keep in mind that protest is to America what oppression is to the Axis of Evil. As difficult as it is to see our countrymen give aid and comfort to the enemy, we must substitute our outrage for the pride we share in knowing that the greatness of America is superbly illustrated on the world stage every time it protects a citizen's right to attack it.

Tyrants around the world may enjoy the sight of Americans protesting their government's policies, but the people who have struggle under their brutal domination must wonder what it's like to exercise such freedom. Surely, they secretly fantasize about living in a country where they won't be beaten, mutilated, and murdered for expressing a contrary thought about their leaders.

If we have learned anything from this vast and noble experiment called democracy, we have learned that people are at their best when they can breathe the purified air of freedom and explore the far reaches of the human spirit unhindered by the cruel and stifling yoke of bondage. Hence, we should view the protesters as proof that our system works. Let's not rebuke them for providing the international community with a glimpse of greatness in action. Also, let's thank Senator Cornyn for proving that a lot of brave men and women didn't die in vain.

Bob Weir is a former detective sergeant in the New York City Police Department. He is the excutive editor of The News Connection in Highland Village, Texas. Email Bob.