24 May 2005

My e-mail to pabaah.com

I tried to engage these loony toons, but it was no use. An obviously futile venture, I must admit.
To: jonalvy44@hotmail.com
Date: Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:36 am
Subject: My registration on pabaah.com
Dear Mr. Alvarez, [http://pabaah.com]

I was directed to your website by an article in the New York Times, and I mistakenly assumed that, as with most public interest websites, there would be room for a diversity of views. Having observed your "rules," which apparently quite explicitly prohibit any disagreement, I must ask that you delete my registration. I gather that were I to post anything on one of your message boards, I would find myself exiled to oblivion in any case.

If you will accept the challenge to read a few sentences of explanation:

I am an American with pre-Revolutionary antecedents (on my mother's side; the last name is Swiss). I am very proud to call myself a Patriot. I believe in America, not only as my homeland but as an embodiment of the ideal of representative government and guaranteed rights of free expression. These guaranteed rights make our nation stronger, not weaker. Your anti-dissent views are, I believe, anathema to the spirit of the American Revolution, and I find the unwillingness to even consider others' take on things to be characteristic of closed-minded people who really do not really believe in the principles of representative democracy on which our nation was founded. Moreover, I believe that the opinion, espoused everywhere on your webiste, that a man is a traitor because he is a dissident from the policies of his government, is a very betrayal of the spirit of the founding of this country. People holding such views have no legitimate claim to call themselves patriots.

Patriotism is not "supporting our president." It is supporting the ideals on which our nation is based. A patriot's duty to his country is to seek to change that with which he disagrees. If you do not understand this, you do not understand the central idea of America, and I am sorry for you.

I support your right, of course, to boycott entertainers who you think are advancing a political agenda with which you disagree. This is a time-honored form of dissent. But calling such people traitors, and shutting up all dissent in your own forums, is indicative of a profound lack of understanding of what the right to dissent is all about. Calling for the government to prosecute dissenters like Michael Moore, is a frightening and ugly throwback to the worst excesses of 1950s McCarthyism.

Some day, I believe, people will look back on people like you the way post-WWII thinking Americans have tended to look back on the regrettable racist-fascist views of such people as Huey Long, Father Conklin, and Charles Lindbergh. Which is to say, as part of a dark chapter of our history, but not in stream with its main currents.

Thank you.

David Studhalter

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