Address by Mayor Ross C. "Rocky" Anderson
Salt Lake City, Utah
August 30, 2006
A patriot is a person who loves his or her country.
Who among you loves your country so much that you have come here today to raise your voice out of deep concern for our nation and our world?
And who among you loves your country so much that you insist that our nation's leaders tell us the truth?
So let's hear it: "Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth! Give us the truth!" Because if we had had the truth, we wouldn't be here today.
Let no one deny we are patriots. We support our nation's troops. Let's hear it for our nation's troops! We have so many veterans here today. Let's here it for the veterans! We are grateful to our veterans who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms. We love our country, we hold dear the values upon which our nation was founded, and we are distressed at what our President, our administration, and our Congress are doing to, and in the name of, our nation.
So to James Evans and these folks who financed this massive radio campaign these last few days, let them understand that blind faith in bad leaders is not patriotism.
A patriot does not tell people who are intensely concerned about their country to just sit down and be quiet; to refrain from speaking out in the
name of politeness or for the sake of being a good host; to show slavish, blind obedience and deference to a dishonest, war-mongering, human-rights-violating president.
That is not a patriot. Rather, that person is a sycophant. That person is a member of a frightening culture of obedience a culture where falling in line with authority is more important than choosing what is right, even if it is not easy, safe, or popular. And, I suspect, that person is afraid afraid we are right, afraid of the truth (even to the point of denying it), afraid he or she has put in with an oppressive, inhumane, regime that does not respect the laws and traditions of our country, and that history will rank as the worst presidency our nation has ever had to endure.
In response to those who believe we should blindly support this disastrous president, his administration, and the complacent, complicit Congress, listen to the words of Theodore Roosevelt, a great president and, I might remind everyone, a Republican, who said:
"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right."
President Roosevelt continued: "Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President,"listen up
Utah Republicans and James Evans, and all the good Republicans listening today"or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing"President Roosevelt didn't stop there"but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."
Those were the words of Teddy Roosevelt, a great president who knew the true meaning of patriotism.
We are here today as truth-tellers.
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