Opinion

What’s patriotic or peaceful about disrupting another’s right to speak?

A Daily Mail editorial from the Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Every individual and group in this country has the right to speak out for or against an issue that is important to them.

It’s a right articulated in the first amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The beliefs of the Founding Fathers sowed a culture of free thinking that quickly spread freedom and innovation across the globe.

While people with different ideas and thoughts on a topic have the right to disagree, standards of decorum generally dictate that others show a level of decency, respect and politeness to allow for civil discourse.

Those characteristics were in short supply last Thursday when the West Virginia Patriots for Peace tried to usurp a news conference being held at Yeager Airport by the newly formed Veterans Against the Deal.

That organization is voicing its opposition to the nuclear agreement that Secretary of State John Kerry has negotiated with Iran, which will be voted on in the U.S. Congress next month.

 Veterans Against the Deal is comprised of veterans with direct experience of Iran, primarily those who served in the U.S. Military in the Middle East. They came to West Virginia to discuss their opposition in order to persuade U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to vote against it when it comes up in the Senate. Manchin has stated he has yet to decide whether to support or oppose the agreement.

The group is led by director Michael Pregent, a 27-year U.S. Army veteran and Iran specialist. Standing with Pregent were several veterans from West Virginia, including Republican Mason County Delegate Jim Butler and Fred Joseph, both Marines.

Yet before Mr. Pregent, who had flown in for the occasion, could get to the podium to address the gathered media, retired activist Reverend Jim Lewis and a few in his group, West Virginia Patriots for Peace, prempted the veterans group…

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