'Not Stalinist Russia'

April 6, 2007 

According to John Rankin [letter March 30], "Liberals confuse free speech with acts of treason." I would like to suggest that it is Mr. Rankin who is confused.

The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and of the press. Article III, Section 3, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution states: "Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or, in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."

None of the numerous "examples" Mr. Rankin cites fall under that definition: None have "levyed war," and, since no legislator, journalist or protester has "adhered to their Enemies," "Aid and Comfort" have not been rendered.

To insist, as many have throughout this war, that only "speech" not in support of President Bush and "goals" in Iraq "emboldens, aids and abets terrorists," and is, therefore, "treason," is not only unconstitutional, but morally reprehensible.

This is the United States of America -- not Stalinist Russia. The right of every citizen to proffer an opinion is not only sacred, it is protected. To pronounce as "treason" opinions contrary to your own is offensive and intolerant. Equating free speech with treason cannot be justified in this country. Not ever.

Vicky Shoquist

Fresno

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