Dissent, as American as Apple Pie

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Editor,

What is infuriating is this: they were artists sitting at a café that boasted farm to table food, in the heart of the canyon leading to Laguna Beach, and that most of their conversations were about nonconformity, when one of the female artists among them mentioned some friend’s critique of the U.S. Her response to the present party was, “If you don’t like it here, why don’t you like go somewhere else? You know? Like if you don’t like the U.S., move! Right?”

I swear it took every last ounce of self-control I had not to turn around and throw my cup of organic, shade-grown, single sourced, direct trade coffee in her face.  But I had paid about five bucks for that coffee.  You know, because it is direct trade and all.

Since when is criticism of the U.S.A. a reason to boot someone out of the country? Have we really reached this point?

My family immigrated here because criticism of the old country landed you in some dark, dank prison to rot for eternity. We moved here precisely because you could talk all sorts of smack about the government and it was cool.  I think it’s even in the constitution, no? Something about freedom of… now what was it?  Ah yes, speech.

Let me break it down, okay?  A totalitarian state begins with the people. Their policing of one another.  Their silencing of opposing views. We need to allow folks to speak their truths, even if it offends our patriotic sensibilities because what makes America so great is precisely the fact that we are allowed to say what we have to say.

Parnaz Foroutan, Los Angeles

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