George Graham

Is “Freedom” as Ugly as it Looks in America Today?

As far as I know, America is the only country with a constitution that protects ugly behavior.  I am thinking about the broad tolerance provided for despicable remarks and the reckless permission to “bear arms.”

I could muse in vain all day and not come up with a sensible definition of “freedom.” For starters, does my freedom end where yours begins? Or am I free to badger and bully you at will?

The Obama presidency has provided an endless series of ugly examples. Critics have called America’s first black president everything but a red-headed stepchild.

They have painted Hitler mustaches on his picture, made up stories about his birthplace, flat-out called him a liar, and made monkey dolls to mock him. And far worse than all this, they have shown up at his events carrying loaded weapons and have openly called for violent revolution.

So it might not be newsworthy that a radio ad for a handgun training class in Texas specifically bars Muslims and Obama voters. Here’s what it says:

We will attempt to teach you all the necessary information you need to obtain your [Concealed Handgun License] ….[but] if you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision under the law…. If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you, and God bless America.

Writing about the disgraceful ad, Zachary Roth reports on a web site called  The Lookout:

Keller, 65, [photo above, right] has said in media interviews that …. the message is just common sense. “The fact is, if you are a devout Muslim, then you cannot be a true American,” he told local news station KVUE, while fielding calls congratulating him for his stance. “Why should I arm these people to kill me? That’s suicide.”

“I call it exercising my right to choose who I instruct in how to use a dangerous weapon,” he added.

Click here to read the story.

Obviously,the ad is just some kind of joke. Or is it?

It seems that much of the anti-Obama and xenophobic trash talking in America today is cloaked in humorous – or at least satirical – language. But that could just be my reaction to the outlandish content.

There’s an undercurrent of resentment in “conservative” America that is apparently provoked by “political correctness.” It seems these people want to do and say whatever they like without anyone censuring their behavior. If they want to use ethnic and racial slurs, why —- you if you can’t take a joke. If they want to be sexist and offensive, hey they’re entitled as free Americans to do that. And if they want to smoke wherever and whenever they like, who the —- are you to complain about the second-hand smoke? You can either suck up the carcinogens in silence or stay home, buddy. This is America!

You may have seen Herman Cain’s crazy web ad, the one with his campaign manager blowing smoke in your face (photo above, right). The pundits are cudgeling their brains to figure out what the cigarette smoke is all about. I think it’s a message to “conservatives” who resent politically correct liberals for getting smoking banned in public places.

Growing up in Jamaica, I was taught to be considerate of others. I am sure you were, too – if you grew up in a decent home.

But Cain’s crew obviously thinks that kind of behavior is un-American.

Vote for me, he says, I’m inconsiderate; I blow smoke in other people’s faces whether they like it or not. I’m an American. I’m free!

And we are free to vote for somebody else, Mr. Cain. Somebody who is considerate enough to respect our right to be free. Of second-hand smoke, for example.

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