I generally am not a fan of “reality TV,” I think the vast majority (99.9%) of the stuff is just pure & utter garbage. That being said Duck Dynasty is one of the few shows that I enjoy from time to time. I don’t go out of my way to seek it out, but if my ass is nestled firmly on my couch as I’m surfing through the channels and its there, its generally something that I stop on.
As far as the issue with the recent comments attributed to Phil Robertson, founder of Duck Commander and patriarch of the Robertson family clan, I’m not really outraged by A&E’s decision to “indefinitely suspend” him from the show as many of my brethren on the conservative side of the political spectrum are. While I did update my twitter avatar to a self portrait in Duck Dynasty beard photo with #STANDWITHPHIL written across it, I am more amused by the situation then outraged.
I mean come on, A&E signs up a folksy, outspoken and deeply Christian family to appear on a show on their network and then feign outrage when one of them gets all outspoken and Christian? I’m more upset that issues like the Fast & Furious scandal, Benghazi, the NSA spying and the Obama Administration using the IRS to attack political enemies have gotten nowhere near the outrage that Phil Robertson’s dismissal from A&E has gotten.
However, I understand why this story has drawn a larger amount of outcry then the other stories. There is a much smaller amount of people that pay active attention to the political events that go on in our world then there is that are tuned into issues of pop culture. So if the outrage from the suspension of Phil Robertson can be used to capture and engage those conservative-minded individuals who hold traditional American conservative values, but have not been vocal and active in expressing them — I say thank you A&E.
The reason that so many Americans love Duck Dynasty, the reason that the “Boycott A&E Until Phil Robertson Is Put Back On Duck Dynasty” & the “Stand With Phil Robertson” Facebook pages each got over 1 million likes in less then 24 hours, is because the Robertson family represents what is usually ignored, taken for granted and/or mocked by progressive elites — the traditional American family.
That being said, some people’s definition of “free speech” and what it really means are not exactly close in certain occasions of this debate.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The First Amendment says that 1) the government cannot establish an official state religion, 2) the government can’t pass laws prohibiting the free exercise of religion, 3) the government cannot pass laws abridging the speech of its citizens or calling its government out when they are being stupid. Not in any part of that does it state or even remotely imply that a private business is not allowed to disassociate from an individual or an entity that they do business with because of comments that said individual made.
Just as Phil Robertson has the God-given and US Constitutionally guaranteed right to free speech, A+E Networks and other private companies are also well within their rights to control what message gets associated with their business. So try as they might to huff and puff and complain, those voices out there who are saying that Phil Robertson’s First Amendment “rights” were violated by A&E, are just plain wrong.
That being said, despite the fact that A&E are well within their rights to terminate their association with Phil Robertson’s and his comments, the fans of Duck Dynasty are also well within their rights to be upset and even outraged at the treatment of the Duck Commander founder.
The free market is where these battles get fought. Don’t like what A&E did? Boycott them, boycott their sponsors, huff & puff and complain that they are a bunch of America-hating liberal idiots. Just don’t say that they violated Phil Robertson’s First Amendment Rights — because they didn’t.
So in conclusion while I #STANDWITHPHILL I also support A&E’s right to make business decisions — even if those business decisions, like getting rid of the duck that lays their golden eggs, is a fucking stupid one.