As if you’re not tired of hearing about Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty’s current difficulties, here I go again. But first, let’s put the whole freedom of speech issue to bed. Like every American, Robertson does have the right to express his views, whether we agree with them or not. However, he must now live with the consequences of exercising his freedom, good or bad.

You or I or a company cannot deny somebody their freedom of speech. That’s a right guaranteed by the Constitution and defended ever since a bunch of patriots threw off the yoke of British rule and declared themselves free. But a lot of people don’t understand the whole rights thing. It’s really pretty simple – your rights end where mine begin. Your rights cannot trample on mine, nor mine on yours.

When I was in the newspaper business there were times when I would not print a letter to the editor because it was in bad taste, offensive, or for whatever reason. People would get all riled up and claim that I was denying them their freedom of the press. No, I wasn’t, because they did not have freedom of the press. I had freedom of the press because I owned the press. If they started their own newspaper they would, too.

But this blog isn’t about Robertson or his comments about gays and blacks, or rights, or any of that. It’s about us. You and me, and the things we say. Because if we and a million other folks weren’t talking about it, it would not be an issue. You see, this whole thing has revealed a lot more about how we all feel and what we believe than it has about Phil Robertson. I don’t think anything since Obamacare has demonstrated the wide chasm that exists between Americans like this has.

Last night I saw a post on Facebook, that great time waster, about Robertson that is the perfect example of what’s wrong in America today. The poster, who is (or maybe was) a friend of mine before this, has been very vocal about her support of Phil’s right to free speech. But she added to her post "If you comment with liberal BS, I will delete."

Huh? A post defending someone’s right to express their opinion specifically warns anyone who might disagree not to express theirs? Am I the only one who sees the irony in that?

I’m reminded of comments a friend shared from another blog, where someone who said something to the effect of, "You ever notice how a Liberal can’t debate an issue without name-calling?" And someone replied under it, "It’s because they’re dumb."

I have a very openly gay friend who was also seriously wounded twice in Vietnam. This guy is a true American hero who paid the price for all of us. In my blog about Phil last week, he commented that while he disagreed with Robertson, he supported his right to say what he felt. Now many of his gay friends are shunning him and calling him a traitor.

And for the record, I support gay rights. I cannot tell you how many women have told me they are gay BECAUSE of me!

If we would all respect other people’s viewpoints, whether we agree or disagree with them, life would be so much easier. Of course, if the world worked that way, Bad Nick would have to work harder to find things to write about.

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59 Comments on He Said, We Said

  1. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

    I echo your thoughts, Robert and appreciate your change of heart and how you live today.

    Would that we could all accept diversity as you have.

    Thank you, Nick. Keep writing.

    Margaret, have you invited your daughter’s partner out to lunch yet? Do it this weekend. You will make your family complete again.

  2. Paul Stough says:

    @Robert Would you explain what you mean when you say ” In the last 20 years or so my family has been blessed with two gay members…?

    Thanks,

    Paul

  3. Robert Wang says:

    I am #6 of a family of 13 including our parents. Two of my sisters have children who happen to be gay,and it has been without issue as we have embraced them into the fold without prejudice. I have learned the gay population is just a matter of statistics it would seem. I believe it is no different than one member is left handed vs right or blue eyes vs green, or chose your analogy. The blessing was not going through life ignorant of the fact that its a total random opportunity of a person being born gay it would seem.

  4. Virginia Mason says:

    I assume you mean me Jan and no I have no intention of ever doing so. This woman has destroyed our family. I will never allow her in our home or acknowledge her as anything except what she is. She is not a partner she is a thief who stole a wife from her husband and a daughter from her parents and a normal home life from an innocent little boy.
    I have told my daughter that I will always love her and that if she ever comes to her senses and returns to her husband our door is always open. But until that day happens I will continue to grieve.
    I hope you and your mother can reconcile as I do that my daughter will wake up someday. My sister says that I am a bitter woman and that is probably true. But obviously I have good reason.

  5. Terry says:

    Jan have you ever seen the movies, Stepmom or The Family Stone or the 1970’s Love Story. My hope is you and your family live to a very old age, but what if you don’t? You said “I have told my daughter that I will always love her” do you believe she loves you? Also when you say “she ever comes to her senses” are you talking about the fact that she left her husband for someone else or the fact she left for another women?

  6. Terry, I think you have me confused with Margaret. She is the one with the gay daughter, not me.
    Margaret, once again – don’t fill your life with hatred. That’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Embrace your daughter and her partner. Hate hurts everybody it touches. If you are religious, follow the teachings of your church. I guarantee it will not tell you to hate.

  7. Terry says:

    I am sorry i should have said Virginia. I guess this shows my age.

  8. Terry says:

    I will end my part of this blog the way it started from something Phil Robertson says a lot. May everyone’s day be a Happy, Happy, Happy one.

  9. Valerie Mayleben says:

    Wow, Nick. You really opened the hornet’s nest with this one. I just wanted to add that I question the interviewers who ask and then publish such deeply personal and controversial opinions of the rich and famous. Another case in point is the controversy created by Chick Fil-A’s Dan Cathy and his opinion which was hyped by the media on gay marriage. I disagree with Phil Robertson’s comments but wholeheartedly support his right to express his opinion, as I also support Dan Cathy’s freedom of speech. Believe it or not, sometimes I disagree with you, Bad Nick, but I don’t go canceling my subscription or attempting to convince like-minded folks or news outlets to join me in a boycott of your paper or your books. Whatever happened to live and let live? Who is the hater?

    I never entered a Chick Fil-A restaurant, nor did I participate in the day of support which followed the media outrage. Only after things had settled and a relative introduced me to their food, did my husband and I try it. And now, only after hearing that Duck Dynasty may be canceled, we chose to record a show or two just to see what we may have been missing. I have to say I found the characters endearing and entertaining. I laugh so hard I have to pause the DVR so I can catch my breath and replay what comments I may have missed. So A & E gets another viewer, and if my gay friends want to disown me for watching and enjoying Phil’s show, then they’re really not friends, are they?

    I recall a time when a co-worker, a young Black female my kids’ generation, told me a reminded her of Edith Bunker of All in the Family fame. What surprised me was — okay, that I might even remotely resemble Edith — that she would enjoy watching a show spotlighting bigotry!

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be more tolerant and worry less about judging who’s right or wrong, accept people as they are, and just lighten up and agree to disagree? If we choose to listen to only the opinions of those with whom we agree, we might really be missing something important in life, like diversity!

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