I was miffed. How dare they? Then I looked up the word. A dissident is someone "who dissents from some established policy." In a comment from that time I sarcastically wondered what established policy Conyers and friends were dissenting from?
But then I took myself seriously, and did some research and found out that one of the responsibilities of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is "prevention of dissident groups from gaining access to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis.".
Why should dissidents be silenced? Because:
So I have decided that my first reaction was ill advised. Americans admire dissidents. Asked to name dissidents they admire, more than likely they would name Solzhenitsyn and the Chinese demonstrators of Tian An Men Square. Asked why they admire dissidents, they cite their valor in proclaiming truth.
Being a dissident is such a label of honor, a famous dissident, Sharansky, flattered Bush with it in November 2004.
"I told the president, 'In spite of all the polls warning you that talking about spreading democracy in the Middle East might be a losing issue -- despite all the critics and the resistance you faced -- you kept talking about the importance of free societies and free elections. You kept explaining that democracy is for everybody. You kept saying that only democracy will truly pave the way to peace and security. You, Mr. President, are a dissident among the leaders of the free world.'"
Too bad, because the true American dissidents fighting for democracy were Sen. Barbara Boxer and those who stood and voted with her.
Edward Murrow has been widely quoted lately, but it doesn't hurt to hear it again:
---Edward R. Murrow, See It Now March 9, 1954, Report on Senator Joe McCarthy"