My Right to Dissent
February 26, 2003, 1:00am

Several tabloids have been calling celebrities who have been outspoken
against the war “traitors” or “friends of Saddam.” As I have been
grouped into this category, I feel that I need to say something in
response to these outrageous accusations. Afterall, these celebrities
are American citizens first, and we are thankful to live in this great
country that allows us the right to express our opinions.

I, for one, am a patriotic American who loves this country. I love
that we live in a democracy where we have freedom of speech, where
every person enjoys the right and bears the responsibility to say
what he or she believes, and where we enjoy the privilege of having
public discussions and debates about the most controversial of issues.

To set the record straight, I think Saddam Hussein is a horrific dictator
who should disarm. And I believe we should support the men
and women who have been put in harm’s way. But I do not think war
is the answer right now. I believe there are other ways to
disarm Saddam that must be explored before we resort to that most
serious of options 1/3 a costly, deadly war. And I am not alone 1/3 millions
of Americans and people around the world feel the same way I do. Are
we all “traitors”?

At specific times in our recent history, our leaders (including Eisenhower,
Kennedy and Reagan) , have chosen successful policies of containment
over war when our country was faced with weapons of mass destruction…
Now is the time for our current president to show the same level of
restraint as his predecessors.

P.S. It used to be in politics that there was a certain amount of
class and eloquence. The debate was civilized even though there were
strong disagreements over deeply important questions. But, as usual,
the Republicans have resorted to name-calling and mean-spiritedness.
It’s interesting how the actors that are criticized for their political
activism always happen to be Democrats… The press does not criticize
Republican actors Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Charlton
Heston for expressing their strongly-held political opinions.