Thursday, December 19, 2013

News Flash, Righties. Free-Speech Doesn't Just Apply To YOU!

This week in a GQ Magazine interview Phil Robertson, patriarch of the so-called "Duck Dynasty" family (a case study in what happens when rednecks are allowed to spawn), decided to use the opportunity to espouse his views on, among other things, Homosexuality.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”
But wait, there's more...
“Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” he says. “Sin becomes fine.”
“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. Then he paraphrases Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
And that's just the part that the mainstream media has been reporting.  There's still more.  Here's what he says about growing up in pre-Civil Rights Louisiana...
“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.” 
 Now, being a corporate entity, A&E which airs the "Duck Dynasty" show, did what any corporation would do when someone spews nonsense which threatens their bottom line.  They immediately placed Mr. Robertson on indefinite suspension, which of course enraged fellow rednecks for whom the show is the best thing to happen since "Hee-Haw", and has sparked outrage from teabaggers like Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, and the undisputed queen of the phony-outrage, Silly Sarah herself...

And really, this is the part that actually bugs me.  Not the comments from someone who serves as the prime justification for why inbreeding is illegal, but the fact that his supporters, as they always do in these cases, are taking what is a mere business decision and trying to turn it into a "Free Speech" issue.  This is mostly because the right-wing labors under the impression that the First Amendment should only apply to them. 

A couple of weeks MSNBC found itself in a similar situation when racially insensitive comments by hers truly led Martin Bashir to make some rather impolitic comments that involved consumption of bodily extractions to put it mildly.  These comments led to Mr. Bashir being suspended, and ultimately fired from the network.  At no time at all did we hear Ms. Palin or any of her flying monkey-drones express any concern for Bashir's free speech.  Not one hint of outrage for someone being fired for calling out someone else's racism.  Nothing from the people who stood up to defend Paula Deen when her racial tone-deafness was exposed, and have now planted their flag firmly in the camp of a show that operates on the level of the lowest-bitter ignorant stupid.  Likewise, these people had no problem when Bill Maher had his show "Politically Incorrect" canceled by ABC for post-9/11 remarks about then President George W. Bush, nor did they seem to be worried about the constitution when Whoopi Goldberg lost an endorsement deal with Slim Fast for making jokes about Bush at a banquet.  Country music radio had no reservations about "free speech" when they mounted a boycott of the Dixie Chicks for Natalie Maines' comments about being ashamed of Bush.  Yet let a Rush Limbaugh, a Glenn Beck, or a Don Imus suffer even a hint of a consequence for saying something monumentally stupid and watch the heads explode.

Look.  I personally don't give a flying rat's fart about Phil Robertson's opinion of Gays, Blacks, or anyone else.  I don't know this man.  I don't sleep with this man.  He does not pay my bills, and neither he nor his family have anything that I could possibly ever need or want.  My thing is how the very people who claim to be such staunch defenders of the U.S. Constitution can be so horribly wrong about it's most basic (and important) rule.  This may come as a bit of a shock to Sarah, Phil, and the rest of you folks over in Rightwingistan (or as you like to call it, Real America), but free speech simply means that your speech is protected from the government, not from us.  It does not mean that you get to say whatever you want with impunity.  It does not mean that those of us you offend with your racism, sexism, or homophobia have to simply sit down, shut up, and take it without so much as a word of protest.  It does not mean that we cannot protest and/or boycott your business.  And it most certainly does not mean that your place of employment cannot take disciplinary action against you if you say something in public that could possibly cost them money.  All it means is that government employed jack-booted thugs don't get to break into your house and black-bag you to Gitmo for saying something stupid, which given the never ending river of stupid that flows from the right everyday is a pretty good thing. 

Phil Robertson is entitled to whatever opinion he wants to hold for whatever reason.  Furthermore he has every right to express that opinion as he pleases.  Likewise, the rest of the country has the right to react to it.  If you people on the right don't like it when the rest of America speaks out against your hatred, then perhaps you should stop putting it on display.  Rebutting the spewings of Phil Robertson does not endanger free speech.  In fact, it affirms it.