‘Duck Dynasty’ controversy points to larger problem

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 21, 2013

As just about anyone in this nation who doesn’t live in a cave knows by now, Louisiana native and “Duck Dynasty” reality-TV star Phil Robertson was recently suspended from the show indefinitely following some controversial remarks he made during an interview for GQ magazine.
While anyone who has seen the show, even in passing, should not be surprised by his statements, the content is immaterial. There will be some who agree with his viewpoint and some who don’t. This country is way too large and diversified to expect anything less. It is the reaction to his suspension, however, that is perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the entire situation.
First of all, Robertson did not get to where he is today by being a stupid man. So one would have to assume he knew that making such statements on a national stage would draw attention and reaction. Regardless of one’s opinion, there are ways to voice it in ways that are not offensive, but Robertson chose not to do so. So for anyone to suggest he was blindsided by the suspension is disingenuous at best.
Then, of course, there is Gov. Bobby Jindal’s response to the suspension. Jindal, also not a stupid man, implied Robertson’s First Amendment rights were being violated.
As anyone who is involved with politics and government — especially one holding an office as lofty as the governorship of a state — should know, the First Amendment protects private citizens from the government impinging on their freedom of speech. It in no way applies to private corporations. Also, nowhere in the First Amendment — or the entire U.S. Constitution for that matter — does it guarantee that anyone can say anything they like without repercussions. All are free to express themselves, and this applies just as much to reactions to statements as it does to the original statements themselves.
So for Jindal to invoke the First Amendment in this instance seems both misleading and purposely incendiary. But not at all surprising given the present political climate.
No longer do politicians seek to serve the greater good. They are more interested in driving wedges between people to better their own political aspirations. It is time for the people of this nation to wise up to these mind games and place those who truly deserve it on indefinite hiatus.