I find much to agree with in Cal Thomas’ column concerning the “Duck Dynasty”/Phil Robertson dust-up. No one should be surprised that a middle-aged, deep-Southern, conservative Christian businessman has considerable disdain for homosexuals. Certainly not the A&E network, who chose the Robertsons precisely because they were that sort of family, even to a comical extreme. The man expressed the values they knew he had, and they (and we) now have to deal with it. And listen to Fox News build it up as much as it can.
I find more interesting and revealing the comments of Robertson on his racial experience. He claims not to have witnessed racial mistreatment, and remembers that his African-American brothers were happy and well in rural Louisiana in the ’50s and ’60s. Someone who can make this claim is so clueless as to be laughable, or so willfully blind as to be disdained. It would take volumes to catalog the number of racial incidents that occurred and made national and international news during his young adulthood. For Robertson to claim no knowledge of them shows him to be ruefully unaware or woefully heartless.
Thomas makes the point that “Miley Cyrus gets laughs, while Phil Robertson is put on hiatus.” Much of the laughter at Cyrus was loudly derisive, and that from people who were unlikely to care much for her as an entertainer anyway. As I suspect it is for the “Duck Dynasty” situation.
In our free society, Robertson is free to express his views and to bear the consequences of his expression. In the end, he will have his supporters and detractors, and his time on the stage will pass. I recall several years ago, the Dixie Chicks expressed a viewpoint, and got congratulation and condemnation, and got death threats, and won awards, and are remembered differently in different circles. It will be the same with Phil Robertson.