Intolerance of dissent

Monday 17 March 2003

Amid other stories of intolerance for dissenting views (TSA inspector calls passenger “anti-American”, Man arrested for “peace” t-shirt) comes news of this year’s latest closed-minded decision by the organizers of the Boston St. Patrick’s day parade: Veterans differ on antiwar protest. Seems the “support our veterans”-themed parade felt that the group Veterans For Peace would be inappropriate.

Latest update: Antiwar group draws reaction at Southie parade The Boston Police allowed the group to march after the parade. They were met with mixed reactions, including people shouting “traitor!” at them.

The Boston St. Patrick’s Day parade has never been a model of open-mindedness and inclusion (in the past, they were famous for preventing openly-gay marchers, going to court to establish themselves as a private organization so they could legally block them). I hardly expect different from them. But it feels to me like this sort of attitude is becoming more common, and less challenged by the mainstream. I wish that our various leaders would devote some press conference time to decrying the true anti-American attitudes displayed in these stories: the crushing of dissent.

I’ll close with a quote widely mis-attributed to Voltaire:

I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.

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