It seems to have become fashionable among some that loyalty to President Donald Trump supersedes loyalty to the Constitution, loyalty to the First Amendment---perhaps the most unique protection in the world protecting freedom of conscience. Somehow our great nation has survived more than 230 years despite political dissent in times of peace and war.

There have been bumps in the road when people were imprisoned for expressing opposition to the draft in WW I, expressing opposition to WW II, expressing support of the communist party during the 1950s and 1960s, and many other examples of unpopular dissent. To be clear, I don’t identify or relate to any of these dissenters. It wasn’t until 1969 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that sedition laws violated the First Amendment unless the speech caused an imminent threat of violence.

Any number of people believe that our country is the most divided it has ever been in history. I’m not sure that I share that opinion. We were certainly very divided during the Vietnam War and Civil Rights movement, which occurred at the same time with strong support and resistance to both, each having experienced bombings, shootings, and assassinations. Going back to the founding of this country, the political divisiveness was as mean and ugly as it gets. If there was social media back then, who knows if the newly founded country would have survived.

And this all leads us to Representative Doug Collins (R-Ga), a Christian minister, former military chaplain, and today one of Trump’s most ardent and vocal supporters. Collins was interviewed by Lou Dobbs on Fox a few days ago in connection with Trump’s fatal drone attack of Iran Major General Qasem Soleimani, the leader of the elite Quds Force. Collins accused Democrats of being “in love with terrorists.” He continued, “…that they mourn Soleimani more than they mourn our Gold Star families who are the ones who suffered under Soleimani….”

Collins omitted any mention of a handful of Republican congressmen and senators who also criticized Trump. He also failed to mention that none of Trump’s legislative critics has defended Soleimani in any way, or demonstrated any sympathy toward Iran despite Collins’ assertions to the contrary. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), and former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador, Nikki Haley among others, piled on, suggesting that Trump’s opponents are unpatriotic, supportive of the enemy, and other pejoratives. This is their version of sedition. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who left two legs behind in Iraq when serving as a helicopter pilot, might disagree.

Collins would have been a slight bit better off if he had not included Gold Star Mothers in his attack. He may have forgotten, but shouldn’t have, that Trump blasted the Gold Star family of Humanyn Kahn, a Muslim American killed in Iraq while serving as a U.S. Army officer. Khizr Kahn, Humanyn’s father, a speaker at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, had criticized Trump for anti-Muslim statements.

Collins, also a lawyer, may have slept through his course in constitutional law. He should know better than to make guttersnipe accusations against those who just happen to have different opinions than his about policy toward Iran and our national security. While it is his First Amendment right to act stupid, it demonstrates poor judgment in the extreme. As I’ve said many times, and will say it many more times, there are lots of Democrats who lie in Arlington and other national cemeteries.

Of note is that neither Collins nor any of his supporters has uttered one peep about Trump’s falling in love---Trump’s own words---with North Korea tyrant and murderer, Kim Jung Un. We have gotten exactly nothing from this love affair despite Trump’s own self-serving statements, repeated often, that he is the master negotiator of making deals. Trump has gone from threatening fire and fury on Kim for pursuing nuclear weapons, to falling in love with him, to Kim now blowing Trump off and working toward becoming a nuclear threat, not only to Japan, South Korea, but also the United States.

One can only imagine if Obama had met with Kim without preconditions, said he had fallen in love with him, returned with no deal, and perhaps making the situation worse than before a meeting. Impeachment anyone? Yet the silence from Collins, et al, is deafening.

Collins made it a point that as a military chaplain he saw the mayhem in Iraq caused by Soleimani. The cynic I am about Collins in light of his purity comments has me asking if he was curious about the political affiliation of those he administered to. Perhaps Chaplain Collins could take a minute or two to Google the name of Father Vincent Capodanno, a Navy chaplain who served with the Marines in Vietnam, posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor. Father Capodanno gave his life while pulling back one wounded marine at a time under heavy enemy fire, succumbing to his own wounds on the battlefield. It is unimaginable that Father Capodanno would have ever acted as shamelessly as Collins.

Collins, following justified criticism of his bombastic remarks, apologized via a tweet. It may have been more appropriate for him to have done it from Fox News, where the same viewers could judge for themselves his sincerity, if he’s trying to appeal to his base in Georgia while contemplating a tough senate race next year.

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