Letter: Protesting is democracy

I do not understand why people continue to criticize anti-war protesters, or those protesting other issues at the RNC. They seem to be ignoring an obvious reality – that, of course, we love this country. There are not many countries where we would be free to voice our disgust with policies being put forward by those in charge. Objecting to a man and his policies and loving this country are not mutually exclusive. We can have it both ways. Do not forget the urgency in these protests; daily we hear the new death tolls coming back from Iraq. No “petty ideology,” but our duty as citizens leads us to speak out to prevent any woman or man from dying unnecessarily.

Though the questioning of my loyalty to our country insults me, it is offensive to question my support of the troops. Over the summer, I attended a graduation party for one of my best friends in high school who attended West Point. To know he is getting shipped to Iraq early next year was the hardest thing to accept at the celebration, and still shakes me to this day. My loyalty to him requires me to voice my objections to a war being carried out in my name in which he might lose his life.

Additionally, the U.S. would garner more respect throughout the world if those in other nations knew that Americans are thinking rationally and working to stop policies that have resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent people (civilian and military alike). Protesting is a practice in democracy and freedom; to quell the practice, under any circumstance, let alone the urgent one we face, would indeed be anti-American. So that’s why I protest: my country requires me to, my friends need me to, and I have to.

Frank Stec

senior in communications