To the Editor:

I find Ms. Clyne’s quest down Cross Campus(“Modern-day Yalies shirk patriotism, duty,” 10/11), bearing a lantern in broad daylight in search of an “American”, ironic because it misinterprets the 225 years of American history she cites.

This country was founded because colonists dissented from the policies of their government, such as taxation without representation and quartering of soldiers during peacetime. From the first change of political parties in the White House 200 years ago, to outrage over the war in Vietnam, America has been a place where participation in the national debate is encouraged, even for those who question the wisdom of the majority.

For this reason, I find Ms. Clyne’s choice of the word “un-American”, last used by Joe McCarthy in one of our nation’s darkest hours, unfortunate and even dangerous. Expressing one’s political views, whether or not they agree with America’s current policy, is the most fundamentally American action possible.

We must be very careful about branding dissenters, even ones we personally disagree with, as “un-American”, lest we cause more damage to the principles on which our country is based.

Allen Dodson ’02

OCTOBER 11, 2001