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Anti-war protesters have right to rally

American citizens will stand up and tell you that the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are two of the greatest documents ever drafted because they laid the foundation for our nation.

Our individual freedoms that American soldiers have fought and died for are fundamental to our country and these documents. Our precious freedoms include that of religion, the right to bear arms, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The tricky part is that many people do not practice what they preach. Often people say comments such as, "everyone is entitled to the right to express their opinions."

That is until that opinion becomes an unpopular one.

A perfect example of this hypocrisy can be found right here in our backyards. Many people have criticized the so-called "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan and her anti-war supporters for protesting outside President Bush's ranch in Texas and across the nation. Several people have even said these people "should just be taken out and shot" because they aren't "real" Americans.

These self-proclaimed "patriots" fail to recognize that allowing Sheehan and others who are against the war the right to protest is a key part of what makes our nation the greatest in the world.

Sheehan has every right to be angry and upset. We can only imagine the hurt she must feel after losing her 24-year-old son, Casey, who was killed in action in Iraq earlier this year.

More than 100 of her supporters and fellow military parents suffering from a loss have been traveling through Ohio this week, outlining why they believe the war is wrong.

While we certainly do not agree with Sheehan and her compatriots, we firmly believe she must have the opportunity to express her views - no matter how much we as individuals may feel she is wrong.

Yet, we are not a dictatorial country where the majority rules. The minority has the same opportunity for a voice as those who are in the majority. By encouraging people to erode the rights of the minority voices, these "patriots" are trampling upon the documents they hold so dear.

At its heart, the issue freedom of speech does not center on protecting the opinions on which you agree, but more important, protecting those opinions that you oppose.

In America, that is true patriotism.