George Graham

Fear of Common Decency Drives “Conservatives” Crazy

Sometimes, when I contemplate the things that some American “conservatives” say, I recall a line from The Merchant of Venice.

You might remember it. Portia tries to appeal to Shylock’s better nature, saying he “must be merciful,” but Shylock will have none of it. “On what compulsion must I? Tell me that,” he responds.

It seems the vitriolic resentment of American “conservatives” springs from the same mind-set as Shylock’s. Gone is the pretense of “compassionate conservatism” touted by George W. Bush in the 2002 presidential campaign. Today’s conservatives claim the right – even the obligation – to reject compassion.

They demand the right to be merciless. Indeed, some of them demand the right to be subhuman. Their lack of humanity is their own business, they insist. As free Americans, they don’t have to comply with commonly accepted concepts of decency.

To me, that makes them trolls. But obviously they don’t care what I think. They wallow in their trolldom and even brag about it.

A recent poll of conservative bloggers (as reported by Andrew Leonard in today) lists the 25 worst Americans of all time and guess who tops the list?

Jimmy Carter.

Followed by Barack Obama and Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

According to the conservative bloggers, these three U.S. presidents are worse than “all the gangsters, serial killers, mass murderers, incompetent and crooked politicians, spies, traitors, and ultra left-wing kooks” in America’s history.

Obviously, these bloggers could not be serious. Or could they?

In my book, Roosevelt, Carter and Obama (photos above) head the list of caring presidents. They had the humanity to feel the pain of America’s “sufferers” and tried to do something about it. They said, in effect, “then must the state be merciful.”

And the conservative reply is, “On what compulsion?”

They do not have the humanity to recognize, as Portia did, that “the quality of mercy is not strained.” Nobody forces human beings to merciful. It comes naturally – to humans. With subhumans, on the other hand, it must be forced. And when they are forced to show mercy – or when mercy is shown by the country in which they live – the trolls go berserk.

And incredibly, these berserk trolls have the unmitigated gall to blacken the names of men like Roosevelt, Carter and Obama, men whose shoes they are unworthy of cleaning.

On my list of the worst Americans ever, the “conservative” politicians, their supporters and their bloggers lead all the rest.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for