Letter: Dissent is our duty

In a recent letter, Danielle Sharp admonishes protesters at the Republican National Convention for failing to support our leaders and their actions, based on the idea that doing so would improve our international reputation and provide comfort to our troops in Iraq.

The problem with this line of argument is it is essentially amoral and anti-democratic, since it proposes that we should support our leaders and their actions regardless of who those leaders are are doing.

In a democracy, leaders serve the people, not the other way around. As the people, it is our responsibility to make our own judgments about our leaders and their actions, and express our judgments freely. It is through the free expression of our opinions that our leaders get the information they need to carry out the will of the people – our will. If our leaders abuse their power by enacting an agenda at odds with our will, it is our duty to replace those leaders.

Our international reputation is generally improved when we as a society stand up to support conscientious leaders and fair policies.

When we stand up to support corrupt leaders and dangerous policies, our reputation generally suffers.

It is far more shocking to me, and to the international community, to see educated people such as Sharp are ignorant of this country’s founding democratic principles (or find them irrelevant) than it is to see dissent in the streets of New York City. Perhaps the university should beef up its civics curriculum.

Joe Futrelle

University employee