to silence dissent is morally treasonable

Teddy Roosevelt may have been his own breed of war monger in his day, but he appreciated what was important in this country, and stated it plainly.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, The Kansas City Star, May 7, 1918

In March, Tom Daschle, Senate minority leader, said that President Bush had failed “so miserably at diplomacy that we’re now forced to war.”

Congressional Republicans promptly suggested that the comment bordered on the unpatriotic.

Teddy made the comment during WWI, and would have entirely disagreed with the reaction.

Daschle paraphrased Roosevelt thusly: “It’s unpatriotic to hold one’s voice in a democracy under any circumstances, right or wrong, regardless of one’s view of the president, whether he’s right or wrong.”

A sentiment as solid today as it was 85 years ago.

-b