Over the past few weeks the “Duck Dynasty” franchise has been under attack from all sides. Whether it’s from offended gays, offended blacks, offended Christians, offended rednecks, offended Cracker Barrel customers or offended free speech proponents it seems everyone has jumped into the ring. This brings up the question: Could you be next?
While most of us are certainly not as well-known as Phil Robertson and the “Duck Dynasty” crew what if were to say or do something which offended another? What if for some reason we decided not to serve someone at our restaurant, let’s say a common street walker (let’s see how many recognize that ancient term) because we believe what she or he is doing is a sin. What will stop a pro-street walker group from protesting our business by camping out on the sidewalk disrupting customers from entering? How do we stop someone from conducting an online smear campaign against us, spreading false allegations our food is bad? The answer is simple: nothing.
Anyone of us could be the next victim. Let’s look at the “Duck Dynasty” attack for example, first it was GLAAD who didn’t like the fact Robertson quoted passages from the Bible about what happens to those who sin. He never said anything about what we can assume he thinks of as the sinners, only the sins. He said he didn’t understand homosexuality but never condemned those who practice it. But the folks at GLAAD evidently have a problem with his interpretation of the Bible and decided to pressure A&E to punish Robertson for making his statements. This in turn angered all the folks who claim this to be a free speech issue since a private citizen and even a public citizen has the right to speak their mind, even if they might be somewhat narrow-minded, although as mentioned above, no one was attacked in the remarks. Interestingly enough others who are probably better known that Robertson say much worse on cable news shows and certain daytime talk shows who claim to have a certain view and never are vilified by the vocal minority. No it is only the Christians who bear the brunt of wrath of the most tolerant people in the world, the left.
And once the protest gained legs, others had to join in. Cracker Barrel pulled some “Duck Dynasty” merchandise from their shelves, why not all remains a mystery citing the companies intolerance against intolerance policy. How many remember when Cracker Barrel’s menus were written in a Southern dialect back in the 1970’s (aig – egg, etc.)? Pulling the products angered their customer base, people with similar views to the Southern Baptists the Robertson clan is, and Cracker Barrel, always worried about doing the right thing, i.e. making money, relented and put the pulled items back on the shelf.
Which caused Jesse Jackson, who never misses an opportunity to pull out the race card if there is a possibility of financial gain to call for a meeting with A&E and Cracker Barrel to find a solution to this terrible, terrible problem. After all in the same interview with GQ Phil said he used to work with blacks picking cotton and the blacks always seemed to be happy. Whether they really were happy or not is subject to interpretation but we can only assume Jackson and the people at PUSH don’t want anyone to think blacks have ever been happy. Had GLAAD not started the feeding frenzy, PUSH probably decided here was a good opportunity for them to cash in as well.
And now A&E has changed their minds and put Phil back on “Duck Dynasty”, possiblly because of the ratings received during their Christmas day marathon which makes them “happy, happy, happy” since they can raise their advertising rates. But then, this has angered GLAAD and the circle begins again.
True, companies like A&E and Cracker Barrel have lots of money making them nice targets for those who make a living off such things, but there is nothing to stop a group like GLADD from doing the same to anyone of us. Organizations like GLAAD and PUSH did great and necessary work when it was needed but is it needed now? Is there really a need for them or should they go away?
There was a time in the United States when citizens were free to speak how they felt without worry of attack, without worry of being held up for ransom and boycotted. Yes, there were injustices and there still are, but how did these injustices get rectified? By free speech, by freedom of assembly and by a free press. We only need to look at the Civil Rights movement to see examples. When Martin Luther King led others, both blacks and whites, on marches through the streets, they were attacked by dogs, blasts from fire hoses, tear gas and billy club wielding police officers, but they had the right to do so and the right was protected.
Now, those rights are being attacked by those who believe their opinions are the correct ones and anyone who may have a different one should not be heard. So, yes, like “Duck Dynasty” you could be next.
Commentary by Paul Roy