Saturday, December 28, 2002

The Sacramento Bee -- Marjie Lundstrom: Dissenting voices in danger as threat of war increases

"These peaceniks are allowing terrorists to kill us and not fight back," read one e-mail, responding to my Dec. 5 column on anti-war protesters. The piece had been posted on a self-described "conservative news forum" site under the heading, "California very weird alert!"

"Maybe we should jail the peaceniks, before we all die," the writer declared.

Kill the message, silence the voice.

Maybe we're just becoming a talk-radio nation, a place where divergent views are shouted down -- or simply hung up on.

As the old year ends, a new worry deepens about whether Americans know how to listen anymore, and what lengths some will go to to silence dissent. From the left, from the right, from ostensibly the center, disturbing examples abound.

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