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A Thought About Dissent

A Thought About Dissent

My recent comments about Eleanor Roosevelt and the Bonus March seem to have incited two of my fellow bloggers to entries of their own. They were not in agreement with my views. I will not address the political issues, but I do apologize for my historical mistake. As Frederic Schwarz observed, the Bonus Marchers were not still there when FDR took office. Some of them had returned.

The dissents, however, did set me thinking. I am a runner. I usually jog around the Reservoir in Central Park, and while I still thrill to the sight of the New York skyline to the south, even four years later I cannot help noticing the gap where the Twin Towers used to be. There is an irony to this hole in the cityscape, and in the entire nation. Like most New Yorkers, I never regarded the towers as icons of the city. That role was reserved for the Chrysler and Empire State Buildings. 9/11, of course, changed all that.

On weekends, however, I run along a country lane, quiet but not deserted, another view of America. As I round a bend in the road, there is usually a car parked in a driveway. The car wears a bumper sticker. The message on the sticker is only three words, but each time I see them, I have the same reaction. My knees pump harder, my lungs expand, and I feel a surge of energy. Even my Cairn terrier, who, like most Americans, came here from somewhere else—Scotland in her case—picks up the pace. The bumper sticker reads, “Dissent Is Patriotic.”