I occasionally get emails from people who tell me that I hate America. They tell me that I'm destroying our country, and that the world would be better off if I would just go live in some Communist nation.
These people equate love of America with allegiance to the government, and patriotism with loyalty to their favorite politicians. Sometimes people tell me that they wish I would be thrown out of the country, tried for treason, or even executed.
Here's a common example (spelling and all):
your a traitor and should be executed just like your friend sadaam
The words differ from email to email, but the overall theme stays the same. Why do you hate America and the American people? Why do you love "the terrorists?"
The most common, though, is what I call the "get out" email; if you don't like it, you should just leave.
To me, this type of position is one of weakness. Don't stand up for what you believe in. When you don't like things, don't try to change them. Instead of speaking out, run away.
Like this note from "Tom":
Why don't you go to some other country and live? You obviously don't appreciate what you have here.
Or this short and sweet email from "FREE MAN"
MOVE TO CUBA
I often wonder if people like Tom or the free man would run away if they opposed the government's foreign policy, or would they obediently fall in line the way they want other people to do. America: Love it or leave it; that's what this type of person says.
Does this mean that anyone who rises in opposition to any American war is a traitor and hates freedom? Or, is it just this war, or the last war, or the next one, or the one after that? Is everyone who doesn't like this massive government a communist? Is it impossible for a person to love America and dissent at the same time?
Or, are we supposed to accept that every single person under every single government ever to exist - including the victims of murderers like Stalin, Mussolini, Nero or Napoleon - hated their country because they hated the government that oppressed them?
Unfortunately, some people identify with the methods of these dictators. Take this love letter I received from "Kenneth":