Could we puh-leeze get past the Duck Dynasty guy? I’m so sick of people holding him up as the poster child for freedom of speech martyrdom when nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s get back to basics. What is freedom of speech?
The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, to express beliefs and ideas without unwarranted government restriction.
The government had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to Phil Robertson. It was him spouting his mouth off in a public forum, (most likely in direct violation of the ethics clause in his contract, by the way) causing his employers to want to distance themselves from him as they did not want to be associated with Phil’s lunatic fringe views. A&E does not want to be viewed as racist and homophobic. They just want to produce low budget, tasteless reality television in peace.
If Phil Robertson wants to get a paycheck from a broadcast company and still express his opinions, all he has to do is find one that is in line with those opinions. Maybe he should move the show over to Fox. Simple.
And what does the first amendment say, by the way?
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.
No one is restricting Phil’s freedom of speech. In fact, it’s because we have freedom of speech that the press was able to pass on his tasteless commentary. Congress made no law to fire his redneck butt. He can stand on a soap box in any public park in this country and say whatever he pleases. And that’s wonderful. What he can’t do is be an embarrassment to his employer without consequences. If he could, if that was the law, then here’s some of what we’d see every day:
- Cashiers would tell us to go f*** ourselves when we ask for paper instead of plastic.
- Telemarketers would tell us that they really think that what they’re selling is crap made in some evil communist country and they wouldn’t buy it themselves.
- Nurses could say things like, “If you weren’t such a fat pig, maybe you wouldn’t have so many health issues. Gluttony is a sin.”
- A tow truck driver could say, “If it weren’t for the fact that you’re a stupid woman driver, you wouldn’t be in this mess. I should leave you on the side of the road.”
- Cab drivers could say, “Oh no. Get your white Republican a** out of my car. I don’t want to hear you moan about how your Bruno Magli shoes are pinching your feet when I’m struggling to provide milk and a roach-free roof to keep the rain off my children’s heads. I don’t serve your kind.”
- Firemen could say to reporters, “Yeah, another loser who fell asleep while holding a lit cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other. Maybe the planet is better off without him. Next time we should just break out the marshmallows and let ‘em burn.”
- Waiters could say, “Stop bothering me or I’m going to spit in your tortellini. And by the way, you’re going to hell, because I don’t agree with your lifestyle.”
- Movie theater staff could shout fire during the matinee and laugh during the subsequent stampede.
- Foster parents could say, “Yeah, I’m only in this for the money and the free under-aged sex.”
If all these people who are “Standing with Phil” are sincere in their beliefs, then they would not fire any of the people above. But believe me, if they were the employers in question, they would. The only reason they hold Phil Robertson separate is they like watching him on TV, or perhaps, heaven forbid, they agree with his views and delight that they’ve gotten a good bit of attention.
So, yes, Phil, you have every right to shoot whatever you want out of your pie hole. I highly recommend you get a blog, because trust me, you’ll be able to say whatever you please, just like I do.
But if the soap box on which you stand exists solely because you have a television show, and what you say impacts the reputation of the very company that made that soap box possible, then stand up and take the consequences like a man, and stop acting like a millionaire martyr.
But here’s a cookie for you: I’ll help you spread some of your speech freely in this forum. I’ll let it stand on its own merits:
[Image credit: baltimorepostexaminer.com]