Dishonoring Dissent

    I am stunned.  In the same week that I turned fifty, I've been banned from my knitting group.  Admittedly, I am a latecomer to the group and there was a well-established clique that was less than welcoming.  However, other then being marginalized in conversation, I was unaware of any issues.  It turns out that expressing dissent was seen as disrespectful and divisive.
    My BS (baby sister) also suggested that I might have been influencing some members, forcing others to think, and raising control and influence issues.  I don't think the influencing and thinking was a big part …  I really didn't go there for intellectual stimulation … but who knows.
    This raises the larger issue of dishonoring the role of dissent in American life.  Since 9/11 and all of  former President Bush's posturing, disagreement has been demonized.  It is very much:  If you're not with me, then you're against me.  I find that really sad.  America was built on dissent, revolution, and individualism.  If you aren't thinking for yourself and you're not asking questions about the actions and motivations of your culture, government, community, family, and friends; then I don't think you are living to your full potential or living up to your responsibilities as a citizen.
    

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