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.