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In a recent broadcast from the Ministry of Propaganda (AKA Fox News), Frank Luntz said of the Nationals fans who booed the president, “The fact is, they should hold those fans accountable. You do not boo the president.”

He also said, “You show respect to him.” Who “they” are and what “accountable” might mean, were not entirely clear.

Silly me! I was under the impression that, if there was anything that could be called quintessentially American, it was the right of the people to be publicly disrespectful to those in power. This was presaged by the 1733 trial of John Peter Zenger, and codified in the First Amendment of our U.S. Constitution. It is an example of the (now apparently obsolete) concept of Liberty.

I can remember protesters in the 1960’s chanting, “Hey, Hey, LBJ! How many kids did you kill today?” And in 1971, Vietnam war veterans throwing their medals and awards at the foot of a statue at the U.S. Capitol. Also a Congressman yelling “You Lie!” during a 2009 speech by the president to a joint session of Congress.

“Showing respect?” No. Protected free speech? Yes!

But it now seems the ministry sees our country as being like North Korea. So perhaps a fitting slogan would be “Make America America Again.” At his point, one might well feel like shouting “MAAApt!”

KURT FOSTER

Sidney

News-Gazette