In My Opinion Caroline Porter


"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

With the current administration in Washington, we need to keep reading and rereading this first amendment to ourselves and each other. For what is the point of fighting for the freedoms of our United States if we are condemned for exercising them?

It angers and disturbs me to see images of Americans opposing each other at rallys for and against the war in Iraq. As one who opposed our invading of Ira q, I resent the implication that because of my position I am somehow

unpatriotic. As Americans, most of us want the same things. Let’s list the items upon which we can all agree.

1. Saddam Hussein is a brutal and cruel dictator, with no regard for human life.

2. George Bush is President of the United States and Commander in Chief.

3. We will always remember the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with grief, shock and anger.

4. We want to rid the world of terrorism.

5. We hope the conflict in Iraq will end soon.

6. We all have relatives and friends who have served or are serving in the military. Every man in my immediate family has been in military service.

7. No matter what we think of our country’s foreign policy, we support our troops and want them out of harm’s way.

It is on these issues that we may disagree:

1. Invading Iraq will not end the threat of terrorism, but increase it.

2. The country of Iraq did not plan and carry out the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001.

3. Many countries have weapons of mass destruction, including us, and the United States is the only country to have used them. (Atomic bomb.)

4. We seem to have forgotten American terrorist Timothy McVeigh and others in our own country whom he represents.

5. In my book, the opinion of anyone who isn’t patriotic enough to vote has no credibility.

6. If we want to end terrorist threats to Americans here and abroad, we should get out of the Middle East, and that includes ending military and excessive financial support to Israel. That support has extended the years of terror and unrest in the region.

In this country, we are supposed to be the government of the people, for the people, by the people. This is not temporary or a convenience, but a basic and profound philosophy of our successful democracy. While we are fighting for freedom abroad, we’d better make sure we exercise and protect our freedoms here at home.

Caroline Porter is a free lance writer and can be reached at Other columns are online at