Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Freedoms in the South

In the last few weeks the man above, one Phil Robertson, has come under fire for his views and public statements of said views. It seems Mr. Robertson has his views set firmly in the Middle Ages - maybe even earlier. Phil Robertson is the patriarch of a Southern Clan of Robertsons (duh!) who a) own a manufacturing concern that makes Duck Calls and b) have a scripted/reality television show about their family and business. The show is called Duck Dynasty and it's on A&E Television. The reason I take time to mention all this is that Mr. Robertson, his clan, and his show are all Southern. Mr. Robertson's beliefs and views, however are more religiously rooted than Southern in origin.

Now, after Mr. Robertson made his famous (and now infamous) remarks, A&E immediately suspended him from the filming of the show and some stores even pulled Duck Dynasty promotional products from their shelves. (As of Saturday, December 28, news reports say that the suspension has been lifted.) As you can imagine, people who care lined up on two sides like the Hatfields and the McCoys and all but pointed rifles at one another. Some people believe that Mr Robertson is a terrible person and that his remarks don't fit right with today's modern civilization and others feel that he is just exercising is right to free speech. There is even a petition "Stand With Phil" which is actually garnering signatures to petition A&E to return Phil to the show.

That being said, it's time to set the two sides straight. You see, both sides are absolutely correct! That's right, America, they are BOTH Correct. Mr. Robertson has a full right to speak his mind and he has a right to his beliefs and ideas no matter how outdated or ill advised they may be. He also has a full right to speak about this at anytime to anyone. This, at the core, is what Free Speech is all about.

What Mr. Robertson and his admirers and supporters fail to understand is that the rest of the world has the same set of rights. You can speak all manner of ill will, and outdated ideas or morals or beliefs founded in any arcane tome found on this planet (or elsewhere) to anyone at anytime and they have the exact same full right to react to it as they see fit. (Albeit in a non-violent way.) They have the right to speak against you, revile you both publicly and privately and to remove you from any position over which they have control through a contract which you (rather, HE) has signed. (They call it a "morality" clause of all things.) They have the full right to remove your products from their shelves and hold you fully responsible for your part in all of it.

This, Mr. Robertson (et al) is Freedom. The Freedoms which we live for here in the US. Freedom of speech is one of the most important of these freedoms, too. And Mr. Robertson is making use of this freedom as are the people over at A&E. Heck, even the people signing the petition are exercising their right to free speech.

My last comment on this is that there are many here in the South who do NOT feel as Mr. Robertson feels and I happen to be one of them, even if A&E reverses its suspension and allows things to continue. (I'm of the thought that the damage is done, Duck Dynasty will fall in the ratings, perhaps evinced by the 2 full isles of Duck Dynasty Product sitting on 50% off sale at Walmart this last weekend. Sitting...not selling.  Perhaps they should put it next to the Paula Deen merchandise..just a thought.)

So, please don't judge the rest of the South on one or two semi-public figures with ancient ideals. We're better than that. 

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