Saturday, December 21, 2013

We're At That Point, Apparently…And I'm Not Sure We Can Find Our Way Back. Thoughts Sparked By The Duck Dude

As I start, just let me say that, much like anyone else, these are purely MY OPINIONS.  I've written more than a few times and hope it's always, if nothing more, thought-provoking.  Something that will spark debate.  Cause the need for argument on both sides.  Please understand, too, that when I say 'argument', I am not talking of fighting but, rather, of two (or more) sides expressing their viewpoints in a calm, rational way so as to help the other side better understand.  For this to happen, we need to be open-minded and LISTEN to the other side.  To argue with a close-minded person is pointless.  No matter what the debate, they will never allow for the possibility there might be another viewpoint other than their own.  With that said, do you REALLY think I was going to let this go without commenting? Where, oh where, to begin?

Yes, a few days ago, the patriarch of the 'Duck Dynasty' family, Phil Robertson, was quoted in an article with GQ Magazine.  I want to state publicly before going forward, that I have never seen this show.  Yes, I've heard about it and seen the merchandise, however I have yet to see the show.  I know this is a deeply devout, religious family with strong Christian beliefs and morals.  This is what I have heard, then read, of them.  I did read Phil's statements about both homosexuality and blacks in his native Louisiana.  In my humble opinion, Phil was not comparing homosexuality to bestiality.  Perhaps I'm wrong (oh, like THAT would be a first!), but it seemed to me that he was listing sins as he understands and views them.  He could've mentioned anything he considers sinful - let's say he mentioned homosexuals, then suggested we, "morph out from there to thieves, adulterers, etc."  Would we be having the same conversation?  Would we be in an uproar because he compared homosexuals to the man robbing a store at gunpoint or someone cheating on their spouse?  Probably not.  Bestiality might not have been the best choice to throw in as the next sin, however he (again, my opinion and interpretation) was merely listing sin, not comparing.

He also made comments about pre-civil rights blacks that he knew.  His quote was,

“I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person," Robertson is quoted in GQ. "Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field.... They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, ‘I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Again, this is purely my opinion, however all I am reading are the words of a man stating what he saw during his life experience.  He spent time with them.  He worked the fields with them.  I'll tell you right now, there are people I work with that, when asked about me, might tell you they never saw me unhappy or complaining about anything.  Does that mean I don't?  Does Phil not witnessing something mean it didn't happen or didn't exist?  Not at all - he was merely telling the interviewer HE never saw it.  I did not read anything in the article that said he thought blacks should be slaves, that he thought slavery was right, or that he hated homosexuals.  As a matter of fact, I do believe (actually, I know it's there) he said we should love everyone - it's The Almighty's job to sort them out.  So why the uproar and why has this made mainstream, everyday news?  Because those asking for tolerance have become the intolerant.  Because being politically-correct has become the expectation rather than common decency and courtesy, not to mention using common sense.  There, I said it.  Now, I'll expound on it.

Oh, and let me clear up one myth - this is NOT a First Amendment issue.  Phil exercised his right to free speech.  Free Speech, as noted in said amendment to the Constitution, merely says the government may not infringe upon that right.  A&E was purely within their rights to place Phil on hiatus.  The question, though, is are there anti-discrimination laws that would protect him?  Probably not.  They cannot discriminate based on his religious beliefs, however they can terminate him if his views are something the network doesn't like.  To me, it almost sounds like a very narrow line and I'm not sure where it gets drawn - that's for the courts to decide.

Now…back to my rant (the one you saw coming some time ago).  First, I find it difficult to be politically-correct.  Not because I don't want to, I just don't see the need.  When people are NOT politically-correct, we tell them they must be tolerant or say their views are offensive.  No, I don't say, "the N-word, or the R-word," but at the rate we're going, you're going to have to fill me in on all the 'insert-letter-here' words.  I can't say, "nigger," but it's okay if blacks do?  I don't care if it's 'Nigger' or 'Nigga' - if it's not right for me to say it, it's not right.  Period.  Let me get this straight - you won't accept me using derogatory terminology but YOU CAN?? For the record, I do NOT use that term and, when I did hear it many years ago, my parents taught me to ask, upon hearing it from someone else, if the person meant a 'white nigger or a black nigger'.  They then told us that, should we feel the need, we could politely say, "I'm sorry but I find that offensive."  If the person insisted on continuing to use the word, remove yourself from the situation.  There needn't be conflict - just leave.  Just like this situation - if you don't like what the man is saying or his beliefs, change the channel.  Period.  All I am saying is respect is earned, not given.  If you can't respect yourself enough to NOT say something derogatory, why should you be able to DEMAND that I don't?  By the way, I also understand the offensiveness of the word, "Retard."  Again, can we please be adults?  If someone says it and you find it offensive, let them know, politely, and if it happens again, remove yourself from the situation.  Is there really a reason to be hateful and despise a person for insensitivity?  I've a better idea - try educating them.  Whoa!  What a novel idea, huh?

I don't say, "African-American," for several reasons.  NONE of those reasons are because I don't like blacks or have friends that are black.  No, it's because of what most of THEM say, most notably (at the height of the fervor) a black man in Richmond, VA that was a US Marine.  He wrote to the Richmond Times-Dispatch and said he found the term offensive to him.  He traced his family's roots and, going back 5 generations, could not find anyone that was from Africa.  He was born in the United States and served proudly in the US Marine Corps.  He was not in any way associated with Africa, nor was his family.  Yes, we all studied our history - we know they were brought over from Africa and sold as slaves.  I never have, nor would ever, own a slave.  This was our history, not our 'today'.  My family came from different parts of the world, too, and we traced our roots back to Ireland and Greece.  Why am I not referred to as an 'Irish-Grecian American'?  You get the point, right?  Ironically, most of you that are sitting there nodding, are in the majority.  The people that feel we need to be tolerant and despise those that don't use their politically-correct terminology, are in the minority.  Funny, though - most of us do it, not because we want to be politically-correct, but because it's easier than going against the system and it avoids conflict.

The same applies to the homosexual comments Phil made, too.  For years, ever since homosexuality has become more open ( remember the term, "coming out of the closet?"), we have been told we need to be more tolerant.  Again, I have friends that are homosexual.  Okay, if that's your choice, that's YOUR choice.  Do I agree with it?  Do I think it's right?  Ha - like I'm going to bait myself into answering that.  You see, I understand the backlash - it's a losing proposition no matter how you answer.  It's a trick question.  What is NOT a trick, though, is our tolerance.  We (heterosexuals) have seen Gay Pride parades, the struggle for 'domestic partners' given the same rights as spouses, etc.  Why, just recently, a gay friend of mine got married.  Do I have a problem with it?  No, because it is not my place to judge.  When someone like Phil Robertson, though, openly makes statements about gays, blacks, etc, my question is this - Where is the tolerance from those demanding tolerance of us?  Again, I am not agreeing or disagreeing with his comments - my problem is with the intolerance and hypocrisy.  I saw a great quote regarding this earlier today in regard to the radical groups that beg…nay, demand….our tolerance.  It was:

"It's moved far along from these radical groups just asking for tolerance of their lifestyle.  They now demand endorsement."

I find it difficult to do.  I find it unbelievably offensive and hypocritical that groups that demand our acceptance and tolerance are, well, hypocrites.  Lest I generalize, let me also say that many of them are NOT like that.  I read many comments from blacks that said Phil Robertson's comments were merely stating his experiences.  I saw many comments from gay people that were accepting of his right to say what he did and respected his beliefs.  They might not agree, however they were showing that tolerance.  The ones that bother me are the organized groups like the NAACP or GLAAD that have to use the media to create a bigger media circus and frenzy than is warranted.  I simply don't understand.  I mean, I turned on the television today and, turning to Bravo, immediately saw a gay Persian man in bed with his…male lover.  I was subjected to 60 minutes of this show that openly showed a gay man.  Sean Hayes openly plays one on NBC.  Phil Robertson, however, cannot make a statement (in response to a question, by the way) stating he is against it because his beliefs and the Bible say it is wrong.  Wait…WHAT???  People are going to make insensitive, irresponsible statements.  Period.  I guarantee it, actually.

The actions will take place, too, that are slanted toward the demands for 'equality'…while being unequal.  Don't believe me?  Let's think Trayvon Martin.  Then, let's think about the little white girl that was brutally attacked by three young black men and killed.  Didn't see it on the news or listen, repeatedly, to how she was a good girl that did no wrong and didn't deserve it?  Of course not.  Sad & tragic, yes.  An opportunity to make a point on national television?  Hardly.  If the story had gone on the air, we would have had Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson screaming about how these boys were racially-profiled.  Amazing how they show up to criticize a certain situation…..but only if the victims are black.  I have yet to see their 'equality' organizations fight equally for anything.

So, I've gotten off the topic…kinda.  I think it applies, though, as I am painting with a wide brush and these are, overall, part of a bigger picture.  We ALL need to be tolerant and understanding.  Start using common sense and decency.  Be kind to one another.  We don't (and won't) all think the same ever.  All I am saying, though, is that if you demand I be tolerant of your sexual orientation, skin color and past injustices, or religious orientation even in the face of our country being attacked, then I deserve the same tolerance.  Is that so difficult?  We need to understand we don't have a lot of time here.  Do what is right and just.  Do what is fair.  Do nothing more than (and let's face it, it all comes down to one thing) respect and practice the 'Golden Rule' - do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Quite honestly, doesn't everything come back to that?  Why, I'm betting the Ten Commandments wouldn't even be necessary if we practiced that, eh?

Until next time…………be kind, gentle, and loving in this Christmas Season.  Yes, Merry Christmas.  Don't even get me started on THAT one………..