Lately, a lot of people I know seem to be upset about A&E and their show Duck Dynasty. Unless you’ve been avoiding the news, the network A&E decided to suspend Phil Robertson from the program after he offered a few opinions about homosexuality. Now, in full disclosure, I don’t watch Duck Dynasty or any other show on A&E for that matter.
Some of my friends on the right have been quick to declare that A&E is violating Mr. Robertson’s first amendment rights. However, such a viewpoint demonstrates an ignorance of the constitution. After all, the first amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Note that it makes no mention of private companies or individuals to exercise their discretion. Legally, Phil Robertson is perfectly within his rights to express his opinions, however A&E is perfectly within their rights to remove him from their network should he say something which they feel is detrimental. A major media source is not required to allow any or all opinions, nor should they be forced to do so. If Mr. Robertson wishes to create a program showcasing his political beliefs, I assume he will be able to find a network to accommodate him.
About the same time as the Duck Dynasty flap, the Senate re-authorized what are a lot of unconstitutional provisions regarding domestic spying, indefinite detention, and privacy through the NDAA, our government killed 14 people in a wedding party in Yemen, and our debt and spending are still out of control.
What I want to know is why is it that so many people are up in arms about the actions of a TV network while the government continues to expand its power. Isn’t the threat to our liberty far more pressing than a perceived culture war? Why is it so important whether you are greeted with a “merry Christmas” or a “happy holidays” if we remain silent when it comes to freedom and privacy, tacitly allowing our government to read our emails without a warrant or imprison anyone without a trial? Aren’t these actions a far great threat to our first amendment rights?
Getting back to the main issue, if you agree or disagree with A&E’s decision regarding Duck Dynasty and Mr. Robertson, I would suggest writing the network to let them know. Watch their program, buy their merchandise, or boycott them, that is your decision. Given there are rumors of Phil Robertson’s return in 2014, could it be that this whole controversy is nothing more than a ratings stunt? If Robertson returns to the show or is permanently removed doesn’t matter too much to me, as I don’t have any interest in the subject matter of the program. Either way, please just don’t let this relatively minor issue obscure the much larger problems facing our nation.