Union Democrat staff

Stand up against hatred, bigotry, racism, injustice

To the Editor:

Driving home Sept. 6, my husband and I were appalled to see that a homeowner had prominently displayed a large, extremely derogatory and racist caricature of President Obama positioned right on the border of his property and Phoenix Lake Road, in plain view of every car/family unfortunate enough to have to travel past his house to get home. The only possible purpose for this abhorrent display is to denigrate the President of the United States. The homeowner/"artist" does not attack any of President Obama's political policies, only his ethnicity.

This type of "free speech" promotes hate and bigotry, and demonstrates profound ignorance. People of every creed and color have fought and died so that all Americans would have the right to free speech. That the homeowner on Phoenix Lake Road chose to use his gift of free speech to promote bigotry, ignorance, racism and hate saddens me deeply. I hope that when families drive by this caricature, parents will use it as a "teachable" moment. A time to teach their children about the responsibility that goes hand in hand with the gift of free speech.

I hope that every person who sees this display will re-commit themselves to using their voice - their own freedom of speech - to promote tolerance, equality, fairness, and kindness to one another. If we want our country to grow into the "more perfect union" that our Founders imagined America could be, we need to go one step farther than just promoting tolerance, we also need to find the courage to use our own freedom of speech to stand up against intolerance, hatred, bigotry, racism, and all types of injustice.

Barbara Gianelli