“Blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.
A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience…”
—Rocky Anderson, Mayor of Salt Lake City
This is in response to Rumsfeld’s speech in that same city equating dissent with appeasing the Nazi’s. To understand the context, Salt Lake City is the capital and largest city in the state of Utah which is the most pro-Bush state in the union and one of the few places where he still enjoys a positive approval rating. This city and state is also the home town of my mother’s family.
This speech formed the core of Keith Olbermann’s commentary in which he invoked Edward R. Murrow’s famous 1954 speech.
There are a number of great quotes from that commentary:
“Dissent and disagreement with government is the life’s blood of human freedom…It is also essential. Because just every once in awhile, it is right—and the power to which it speaks, is wrong…
That about which Mr. Rumsefeld is confused is simply this: This is a Democracy.”
—Keith Olbermann, Countdown
6 thoughts on “Patriotism is not blind devotion”
I did not see/hear/read all of Rumsfeld’s speech. I did read the excerpts in the article you linked to. From those excerpts, I don’t see how you drew the conclusion that Rumsfeld was “equating dissent with appeasing the Nazis.” He seemed to criticizing those who want to take specific actions such as withdrawing from Iraq. The quotes didn’t indicate that it wasn’t just that they were in disagreement with the administration, but it was their counter-proposals that were the point of contention. I don’t think he was saying “You’re a Nazi-appeaser because you disagree with me” but instead that “You’re a Nazi-appeaser because you want to withdraw from Iraq.”
That being said, the administration has certainly been guilty of trying quash dissent by playing the patriotism card. Of course I also favor withdrawing from Iraq, since I was against the invasion even before it happened.
I think educated people who read the linked articles are intelligent enough to understand what Rumsfeld is clearly implying. They can form their own opinion without your help. Unlike you, I believe most people know a straw man when they see one constructed blatantly in their faces and understand the false dilemma he is presenting.
Conversely, don’t think you can pander to “balance” by putting words in my mouth.
To take Donald Rumsfeld literally and me, here, not so is hypocritical. The quotes I provide nowadays are only a launching pad for your own thoughts on your own blog and to point out a particularly clever turn of phrase. They are not for you to give me holier-than-thou pronouncements to up your right-wing libertarian creds.
If I wanted that crap, I’d have posted a long, opinionated tirade here and called this Balloon Juice.
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[ How many times do I have to say, you can rant and piss on me on politics in your own blog? Haven’t you noticed yet I stopped commenting on your blog to give you free reign there? Haven’t you noticed that I no longer write about politics here and just quote others? Fuck, get a clue and jack off to Ayn Rand in your own space. I don’t have time to school you in the basics of welfare economics and public finance, or debate SAT-level reading comprehension with someone still suffering from his crappy Florida public school English education.
Full text of speech.
Rumsfeld responds and the Democrats too.
Also, another analysis of the speech by a “liberal.” Notice how I neatly destroy his argument by engaging in this ad hominem? Hehe.
He, like all “liberals”, is obviously both well-read and has had an excellent “liberal” arts education and yet he also seems to have “drew the wrong conclusion” about what Rumsfeld is “really” saying. The rest of his essay goes on to take Rumsfeld’s defense at face value… with hilarious results.
Similarly it appears that Glenn Greenwald, Rocky Anderson, and Keith Olberman linked above made the drew the same “wrong conclusion.” As did The LA Times, The Louiville Courier-Journal, The Lufkin (TX) Daily News, and John Dean (Nixon White House Counsel).
Damn “liberals.” 😀
This analysis of the speech is interesting if only because the writer is both a teacher in speechwriting and an author of a book: Words That Shook the World: 100 Years of Unforgettable Speeches and Events.