At what point do our rights infringe upon others? When it comes to anti-cancer campaigns, it seems that people have become very creative in their forms of expression. In our world of political correctness and sensitivity training, this can become an issue.
Take, for example, Nick Williams of Oklahoma City, OK, who has been fighting brain cancer for the past two years. Williams reportedly had surgery that removed 60 percent of his tumor and has been getting chemotherapy for the remaining cancer. As a protest to his condition, Williams decided to place an inspiring license plate on his car: "F CANCR."
Now, for most of us, the first thought that comes to mind is probably: “Yes, indeed" or at least: “I can understand that." The Oklahoma tax commission, however, did not look upon his license plate favorably.
According to Williams, a letter was sent to his residence from the tax commission, recommending that he change his license plate due to a high number of complaints about it. Williams maintains that the “F” on his license plate stands for “fight,” but he can understand how people would misconstrue his message. He is in the process of appealing the tax commission’s letter for his right to express himself on his license plate.
This prompted me to ask: Who is justified in this case? Is the tax commission correct in asking Williams to change his license plate, or does William deserve to fight for his expression -- if for no other reason other than for his own inspiration?
In recent years, we have seen a number of campaigns that bring awareness to cancer and encourage screening. Some of these could be classified as somewhat risqué, but mostly, they are quite clever and funny.
For example, the save the ta-tas foundation that sells bumper stickers and t-shirts with the message save a life, grope your wife, or Britain’s cheeky beating bowel cancer campaign that features a video promoting colon cancer awareness (I'm sure you will crack up, or even bust a gut, laughing at this one... pun intended). Even Canada has joined the movement with a Colon Cancer Canada campaign of its own with the tagline We’re behind your behind.
All of these examples are a subtle play on our sensitivities that bring awareness to a very serious matter. The question is, do some campaigns or personal messages go too far? If so, where does the line of decency in activism get drawn?