A Brief Note About Freedom of Speech in the United States

- - posted in politics

I feel like the whole Internet’s been all a'titter (that’s right) over this whole Duck Dynasty thing where some dude who’s name sounds a lot like “Pat Robertson” (who is well known to be a big jerk) said a bunch of racist and bigoted and homophobic as hell things to a reporter from GQ. I wanna get some stuff out of the way here.

It’s already well covered elsewhere that to say Phil Robertson’s free speech rights were in any way infringed by A&E suspending his contract is pure bullshit. I just feel the need to pile on here because I like writing about free speech and this here’s my blog where I’m gonna do it. Enjoy.

First and foremost the First Amendment that all these people on Facebook keep referring to says pretty explicitly that it limits the powers of Congress, not of the general public nor of corporations like A&E. Congress couldn’t pass a law that said you get thrown in prison when you compare homosexuality directly to terrorism and bestiality like that (I’m not going to repeat what he said here; go look it up yourself if you’re curious), but A&E is perfectly within its rights as a private entity to punish employees for publicly embarrassing them.

I wanna add something here that I haven’t read all over the internet about this like that last paragraph.

The United States of America may waver or backtrack in her role as the shining city on the hill that everyone else looks up to, but overall the long arc of this nation is toward greater pluralism, greater diversity, greater acceptance. This nation is never going to turn around and decide that being openly racist against black people is okay again, as if the last fifty years have not only been slow progress but never even happened in the first place. That’s not going to happen. So people who are as racist as Phil Robertson are never, ever, ever going to be in the majority ever again. Theirs is an increasingly isolated and increasingly embittered world view that the rest of us do not and have never shared. The proper reaction, my dear space cadets, is to be sympathetic and pity them, because they have to wake up every day in a world that’s smaller than the previous day for them, where they’re just a little more isolated every day.

The same goes for his anti-gay remarks. I’m sure many people do agree with him (as I can see by their vociferous and poorly-written prattling on Facebook), but it will never again be the case that most Americans feel that way. That time has come and gone, and we’re never going back. We may be seeing slower progress toward equality than we’d like, but I think everyone can agree that at this point, no new states are going to outlaw gay marriage after the fact, and no states that currently allow it will ever return to how they were before. We are never again going to restrict people from marrying the one they love just because they’re the same sex as them. I feel sorry for the Phil Robertsons out there; this is not their world and it never will be again.

Every day there’s fewer of them. Feel pity for them, but don’t ever apologize for changing the world to be a better place without them, space cadets.