The U.S. Congressman who represents my district, Markwayne Mullin (whom I did NOT vote for, nor would I ever), today decided to weigh in on this silly Duck Dynasty "controversy." His statement began thusly:


ÔÇťAmerica is currently witnessing a contradiction in its core principles. The fundamentals that founded our great nation included the freedom of speech and religion. Unfortunately a man who simply voiced his religious belief, which is protected by our constitution, is now being punished..."


My first response would be: Contrary to what so many of this man's defenders would have us believe, this is NOT a freedom of speech issue. Yes, Phil Robertson DOES have the right to express any view he wishes, and he took advantage of that right. However, the company by whom he is employed also has the right to respond in a manner it deems appropriate, and it took equal advantage of that right. Somewhere along the way too many people have gotten the mistaken impression that Freedom of Speech means Freedom From Consequences. But it just isn't so. 


(As an aside, I find it humorous that this business decision is getting so much criticism from so many extreme rightwingers who are usually so quick to defend other business decisions that seem so questionable to millions of Americans.)


Secondly, if you're so outraged by this supposed "attack" on his Freedom of Speech, where were you when it was the Dixie Chicks that were being raked over the coals for expressing their opinion? At what point did you make the determination that "Freedom of Speech' applies only to those with whom you agree, not to those with whom you disagree? 


An old college friend, who I love like a sister even though we disagree on so much, stated in her defense of Robertson: "I just get annoyed with the double standard. He was asked a question about his beliefs and answered." But that's exactly the problem; there IS a double standard, and it's being practiced by those who are expressing outrage over this. The same people who are so quick to rush to this guy's defense for simply stating his views are the ones who gave the Dixie Chicks such crap for stating theirs. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Freedom of Speech applies not only to those opinions with which we agree, but also to those with which they do not.


Thirdly: All this fuss over some vapid and insipid television program? Personally I've never understood the attraction in this show - or in the vast majority of these so-called "reality" shows. I'm much too busy living my own life to spend countless hours in front of the TV watching other people live theirs...


Finally, and perhaps most importantly: It's Markwayne Mullin, for crying out loud! You can't take him seriously. This man is to intelligent discourse what Pauly Shore was to the dramatic arts... or what a Sonic coney dog is to fine dining. (Actually that last comment may not be entirely fair on my part; I like a Sonic coney dog every now and then...)