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Freedom of speech is a right of our citizens, but it is severely out of control with today's media and self-appointed celebrity "experts" who blanket the press and airways with vulgar, inappropriate and often ridiculous commentary. Most don't even respect good morals and manners.

The election coverage over the last year demonstrates that our nation has a severe problem with obsessions. We are obsessed with everything, and that problem has been further put upon us by an out-of-control media. The election, the war in Iraq, sex and violence in movies and on television, even our shopping, is overdone in such cheap extremes that it has put our priorities and traditional American values at risk.

Next we head into Christmas and other traditional holy days and those, too, will undoubtedly be overdone, not with what should be -- their religious values and traditions -- but with cut-throat commercialism and tacky vulgarity and tinsel gimmicks.

Carl F. Burgwardt

Orchard Park