Criticism, in short, is more than a right; it is an act of patriotism, a higher form of patriotism, I believe, than the familiar rituals of national adulation…it may destroy a consensus on policy while expressing a consensus of values.

- Senator J. William Fulbright, 1966  
In America, disagreement with the policies of the government is not evidence of lack of patriotism.  Indeed, it is the very fact that Americans can criticize their government openly and without fear of reprisal that is the essence of our freedom, and that will keep us free.

- Senator George Mitchell, 1987  
​Bringing Common Sense to Political Commentary since 2004
David Bleidistel, Editor
ABOUT DISCOURSE AND DIATRIBE

Welcome to Discourse and Diatribe!  This website was founded in the summer of 2004, in response to that year's Presidential election and the issues that were at stake.  It began with just a few articles (on the Jose Padilla case, Ahmed Chalabi, the Department of Homeland Security's contract with Accenture, and others; these are all on the Archives page), and included my first predictions for a Presidential election (I didn't do so well that first time - I missed on 7 states).  Shortly after these humble beginnings I added a Blog page (Dave's Blog) for posting quick thoughts and shorter musings on a variety of issues.  Since then we have added new blogs (Kevin's Corner; Nikki the Republican; Mike's Perspective), new Features (The Constitution , the Top Ten List , and a Civics Primer ), challenged our minds ( Constitutional Quandaries and Conundrums ), and have generally tried to keep up with events.  I should point out that we all have other lives - this is not our primary occupation - so sometimes we fall behind a little bit.  Deal with it.

I would sum up our philosophy this way:  The above quote from Senator George Mitchell (D-Maine), echoing the sentiments of Senator Fulbright, were spoken to Lt. Col. Oliver North during the Iran-Contra Congressional Hearings in 1987.   With these words Mitchell set the record straight regarding the act of speaking out against government policy.  To zealots like Oliver North, criticizing the Reagan Administration’s policies was, at the very least, unpatriotic; at worst, it was tantamount to an act of treason.  Mitchell re-introduced sensibility and reason into the nation’s political discourse, and voiced the sentiment that others had been afraid to articulate: that it is the true patriot who speaks out in protest when the government takes the country in the wrong direction.
 
Let me put it another way:  If you were to see a loved one walking down a path, and you realized that continuing on that path would lead them over a cliff, are you not obligated to call out, loud enough for your loved one to hear, and convince them to change their direction?  Of course you are – but is it not the same for our country?  If you see our country heading in a dangerous direction, are you not obligated to call out, loud enough for the leaders of our country to hear, and convince them to change that direction?  To do so is an act of love and concern and – yes – it is an act of patriotism.
 
Those who suggest that it is  unpatriotic to criticize the government would not call out – they would instead follow the leaders of our country over that cliff, like so many lemmings in a senseless mass suicide. That is not patriotism, it is blind faith – a faith that the leaders of our country do not always deserve.
  
As a patriotic American, I believe it is my obligation to the country I love so deeply to speak out, loud enough for the leaders of this country to hear, in an attempt to convince them to change their direction. And if those leaders don’t change their direction, Discourse and Diatribe also serves the function of informing the American voters – the true leaders of the country.
 
As one patriotic American to another, I ask you to fulfill your obligation to the country you love, and join me in calling out, loud enough for the leaders of our country to hear.  To this end, I ask you to forward this website to your friends, family, business associates, anyone you can think of. 
 
Join me in this.  Becoming involved just may be the most important thing you can do for our country.
 
David Bleidistel, Editor