It’s not anti-American to protest violence

As a 20 year Navy veteran, I vowed to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Supporting the Constitution does not mean I can arbitrarily choose which sections I support. The First Amendment, a person’s right to speak and express themselves freely, is paramount in our society. While I may disagree with some people’s expressions and views, I will defend to the end their right to do so.

It was with great shame that I read Jake Carswell’s Oct. 3 letter, “Berkeley protests: Shed the tie-dye, done some pride,” where he stereotyped, labeled and lambasted a community – and generally discarded one of the very freedom’s that make our country great. The residents of Berkeley have the right to protest, express and voice themselves in a peaceful manner.

American pride? Since when is supporting violence part of American pride? Showing support for our men and women in the service is one thing. Blindly following an administration’s foreign policy is quite another. Yes, it is quite paradoxical that the very symbol of freedom – our flag – also allows individuals the right to remove or even destroy it. I have seen places where people who did this would not live to see the light of day. Being pacifist is not un-American. It is an element of America. Those in Berkeley were not protesting those who gave their lives. They were protesting the manner in which the lives were lost – violence and war.


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