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June 13, 2007 | 42 Comments

Post to the Host:
This letter is not in anyway made to reprimand PHC but i feel that so many entertainers these days take cheap shots at the current presidential administration. I believe in freedom of speech 100% but there is a time and a place for it. Whether in the spotlight or on the airwaves you all are a role model to people of all ages. If we as Americans cannot respect our own government how can we teach our children and people of other countries to do so as well?

Celina T.
Jesup, GA

Thank you, Ms. T., for your endorsement of free speech and I have to agree with your last sentence 100%. If we cannot respect our own government, then how can we teach our children to? Well put.


Don't you just love it when they hand you your rebuttal?

Ah, yes, respect for a government....My mother always used to say that you earn respect. Don't know that I can say that this has been earned by certain elements of our government! K

I firmly believe all political leaders should be ridiculed, it's the truest indication of a just society, but was this response to the letter a "cheap shot"?

Nothing given blindly does justice to either giver nor getter. It seems to me the Mr. Bush is being given by Mr. Keilor the level of respect and disdain that he has earned by his performance in conducting the business of the country. Mr. Keilor is respected at humorist of his generation, something he has earned by over a lifetime performance in his job. I assume neither gentleman ever imagined when they started that they would come to their current position. One has demonstrated absolute competence, the other absolute incompetence. Both have earned that judgement. That is my opinion.

MS. T's concerns have a certain old-fashioned charm, but they're awfully dated. It should be pretty obvious by now that the rest of the world isn't going to respect America unless we can convince it that we don't respect the Bush administration. As for our children, it's been a long time since anybody thought we should model respect for teachers who beat them and clergy who molested them-- as a society, we no longer believe in quietly keeping up appearances while positions of trust and authority are abused. No one at PHC need apologize.

I love everything about the program except your pot shots at our goverment. I wish you were fair and balanced. I have been a fan for years, but your lack of respect turns me off.

Respect is a two way street: the object must merit it (or be in a grey area of reasonable doubt) as well as have the person doing the observance be competent to judge.

Freedom is wrapped around the idea that dissent and discussion are good, and obtaining the truth is the highest goal.

The obligation of the honest person is to speak out where he sees injustice and wrongdoing, and exercise the freedom to ridicule wrongdoing wherever he or she finds it.

So far, my money's on Garrison. Call 'em as you see 'em, in as many public places as you can. You can disagree, but that's part of being free, too.

Regarding Mrs.T's comment. It is not the job of the people to respect the government rather the job of the government to respect the people. Please don't chance your comments about our government.

Once again Garrison you have said in a few words what so many people beleve.

I still believe that "None Of The Above" should be on the ballot.

It would have won the last election with a large margin.

Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and the government when it deserves it. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)

Aside from the rest of the discussion,I agree, the cheap shots seem tired, mean and a little too obvious for someone so bright. Listen to the anger in the other responses. It's quite sad that ridicule is called humor and the laughs come with a sneer.

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I lost my respect some time ago.

I agree..... With the Dixie Chicks.

GK had the perfect response. I hope Celina will ponder it.

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely but those who can't laugh and see the humor in life are taking themselves way too seriously. Furthermore, humor is one of the first lines of defense people have when they are terrified of the things they see looming in the distance.

It may be useful to ponder the distinction between the office (or job) and the person who is filling it. If I may take an extreme example; President Warren Harding held the office of President of the United States, but was not particularly good at the job. I find it useful to remind myself of this while dealing with the cognative dissonance generated by simultaneously vigorously supporting the Constitution and our Government while at the same time vehemently disagreeing with some of the policies of the current administration. God Save the Queen, but take her quickly to Thy Bosom, or at least far from here.


Our president has caused more damage to our country and our people than any foreign invader, or terrorist since the war of 1812. As someone else has already noted, respect is earned . Bush is the cause of our entire country loosing the respect of the people of the world men, women and children. It will be a long time before we will be able to earn it back.

Actually, I DO respect our GOVERNMENT - That's why I'm so incensed that the present president-resident has made such a big, fat mess. Now how did he do that single-handedly? He didn't! It has taken many millions of U. S. enablers (sometimes called voters) to concoct a sad state of affairs.

I think it's the responsibility of people in the media to speak the truth. There IS unfortunately a great deal to criticize in this administration.

The cheap shots are tedious. The economy is great. I think Pres. Bush is one of the most underated we have had, He reminds me of President Truman. He is a fine husband and Father and very concientious. Cheap shots are appropriately named.

Your political humor ranges in its quality, from hysterically funny to pathetic cheap shots which only someone who despises the target of the joke can laugh at. Please try a little harder to give us more of the truly funny stuff and less of the insulting ones... that's the only part of PHC that I don't enjoy.

Respect is many things. "Earned" certainly comes to mind, and "easy to teach" another. We can teach our children respect and many other things. At least what respect is and means. I do not think that we can teach people of other countries respect. Especially for this admininstration, let alone this country; we are a rather egocentric lot.

What if the current government is not respectable?
And patriotism is caring about the welfare of all citizens, whether not quite born yet or over one hundred years old. To quote the Canadian Red Green, "We're all in this together," tho' sometimes it doesn't seem like it considering that this particular government isn't respectable and national democracy doesn't exist anymore--not since December 2000 anyway.

In response to Ms T.: Respect is earned and if lost, is most difficult to re-establish. The performance of the current administration, in my estimation, is appalling. The arrogance and narrow-minded attitudes have created problems that our children and grandchildren will be dealing with. If we cannot criticize or "poke" at the government, will they ever change or listen to what we have to say?

How unbelievably inane a comment she has made. One can only agree with the numerous comments that respect is earned. Mark Twain's comment is particularly apropos. The current occupant has degraded respect and support for America throughout the world, and he is a consumate embarrassment. People should not fear their governments, governments should fear their people.

Respect has to be earned - it is not simply given, nor should it be taken for granted. I don't consider that what Ms T expects is respect, but rather gullibility. This administration has done nothing to earn respect, and I am not gullible enough to give them my blind devotion. The whole point of freeedom of speech IS that people can and should criticize our government when we see tham making egregious blunders, mistakes, and outright malfeasance.

HPC/Garrison has great perspective, and I never consider your reflections on current affiars cheap shots. Keep seeing the truth, however tragic. Put on that gentle spin that keeps me laughing and sane.

The administration will my respect when they earn it. So far, they have done a very poor job at that.

Great show, GK. Keep up the good work.


Juan Rivera.
Kihei, Hawaii.

respect must be earned. i learned that when i was in the military a long time ago.
the gov has repeatedly said 1 thing and the done something else, & when it's pointed out to them , their response is along the lines of "your not being Patriotic".
"Bite Me' I Say. Patriotism is doing what best for the Nation , not their party or supporters. dems do the same, i have always enjoyed every show but i do like the (relatively) clean humor and folksy background to it all. Don't Like It? change the channel or try the On/Off button.
..On The Road To Where The Women Are Strong, Men Are Good-Looking And All the Children Are Above Average. :)

Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
-- Samuel Johnson

Any sitting President in this country is the brunt of jokes. Johnny Carson did it all the time. In the former Soviet Union, if you criticized the government, you either disappeared or ended up in a gulag for life. Here, we have free speech including the right to tell jokes about George Bush and, God knows, if bush can't stand the heat, he should get out of the kitchen. He's got the worst popularity rating of any president since Hoover and it's of his own making.

You go, Garrison!

I thank heaven for GK and PHC every week! Growing up in the Northeast, it was a shock to my very essence to have to move to the deep South for several years, where almost everybody talked like Celina T. No dissent, no questioning, no straying from the norm; it seemed everyone went to church and followed your president no matter what!

It was stunning, I had no idea. Every time I spoke up, I was shunned, shut out, sometimes even shouted at. Seeing it carry over to how my very young son was treated, I learned to be quiet, just to get us by. I tuned into Garrison every week, EVERY WEEK, to get back my sanity. I cherished the jokes, felt like I was not crazy for just one hour a week. I never considered them cheap shots, I considered them funny insights made with incredible bravery when so many others were afraid. Now many more talk like GK, and I've moved back to the Northeast to live again amongst my outspoken & opinionated "tribe", but I can tell you, Mr. Keillor, with all honestly, that you really helped me get through those hard, lonely years. My child has learned respect is earned and not blindly given, and yes, he is listening.

Please, sir, if someone like Ms. T makes you feel badly, please remember that there are others of us out there -- who can't always speak up -- who look to you for courage, wisdom and the chance to laugh at some very tragic ugliness. Please keep up what you do so well, for as long as you enjoy it! I am deeply grateful and will be a fan forever.
Thank you.

Your response is perfect.
Poking fun at our government officials no matter the party is a good way to remind us all they they are human beings, not gods or kings.

I think the beter question is: If we can't CRITICIZE our government, what sort of example are we setting for our kids?

The 1960s provide the best example of this. Of the students who protested and rioted in the 1960s in the wake of the Vietnam War, all of them had been taught to love, respect, and worship their Government. They could trust it; it would always tell them the truth.

The Vietnam War and the doubletalk of the Johnson administration demonstrated how false these assumptions were. Then came the Nixon administration, the lying about invading Cambodia and Laos, and the debacle that was Watergate. All this, along with the demonstrated injustices in civil rights and economic opportunities by blacks and other minorities, was enough to turn an entire generation against the Government.

When government is not criticized, we get Vietnams, Watergates...and George Bush, Jr. The preacher's stance of not criticizing the government is just another excuse for a person to avoid thinking for themselves.

Oh, you just made my morning, Mr. Keillor! Thank you so much! As one of the comments before said, don't you love being handed your rebuttal. Thanks for many years of quality listening. Love your newspaper column, also, when our paper prints it!

GK is in the tradition of Will Rogers, Vaughn Meader, Bob Hope, etc. insofar as making sport of the President. I'll admit, the current occupant's performance makes even satire hard to bear, but GK's weapon is the mighty pen and he wields it skillfully.

"The current occupant has degraded respect and support for America throughout the world, and he is a consummate embarrassment" (BTW...I fixed the spelling of 'consumate" from the original post...embarrassment, huh?)

To this I respond: We must stop this "fuel the anti-American" crap! All of you who continue in your "Bush Hating" are doing the dirty work of Al Qaeda...they are loving this divisive talk. "United we stand, divided we fall" Terrorists are not stupid and they will use psychology and our own divisivness to destroy us.

As far as this... "responsibility of people in the media to speak the truth".
I remember the words of another leader in US history...It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these journalists/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials - after the fact.---Robert E. Lee in 1863.

Finally this, above all else...I believe the most solemn duty of the American president is to protect the American people. If America shows uncertainty and weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. This will not happen on my watch.---George W. Bush

It is vital to our country to respect whoever the president happens to be. Be careful, you all might just find yourselves praying to Allah some day soon!

Wow, Garrison nailed that one.

Our country is in dire need of a new leader and a new direction, and I fear that the same people who demand respect for Bush now will outnumber the rest of us at the polls in the next election. To everyone who agrees with GK: Let your voices be heard in November 2008!

Kathy, I admire your strong convictions, but please remember that free speech and open debate are key components of a successful democracy (and have served us well these 200+ years). Limiting that debate or any criticism of our government would lead us to a system like the former USSR's, or that of Taliban-led Afghanistan or dictator Saddam's regime. The people didn't have rights or the ability to speak out against those leaders. I think we should thank God (and Allah!) that we have those freedoms. Otherwise what is the point of defending this country?

It is interesting to note that the people who enjoy Garrison are interested in enjoying him, while the people who object to his humor all seem to want desperately to get others to agree with them!

If you are so certain you are right, why do you need other's to agree with you? Why do you need to tell the rest of us how to behave? How about you just hold on tightly to your fears, and your love of a bullying president, and let the rest of us have our laughs?

I am not Muslim myself, but I certainly respect all gods and everyone's right to pray to their own belief system, so praying to Allah for peace is fine by me, Kathy! Maybe you'd like to pray for peace, as well? You might find it's more rewarding and relaxing than exalting fear and correcting mis-spelled words....

I listen to PHC to be entertained, and have for a zillion years. It is an escape. For 2 hours, I don't want to think, hear, or talk about our current administration. Can anyone relate? I can't ignore it, and I don't. I just need PHC without the negativity. It's been SUCH a positive in my life for so long.
THANKS GARRISON, here's to many more seasons!!

I'm not to great at making up one-liners so I'll let Teddy do the talking:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

"Roosevelt in the Kansas City Star", 149
May 7, 1918

And to those who voted for the dunce we have in the presidency now:

If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.
Theodore Roosevelt

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