|Sarah Palin took a "selfie" with Phil Robertson at a book signing in Louisiana in early December. CREDIT: Sarah Palin via Facebook / NY Daily News
For two days we've had to listen to prominent conservatives claiming that "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson was silenced for his odious views.
It's nonsense. Instead, GQ magazine actually gave Robertson a national platform to indulge his bigoted, bumptious gay-bashing spree. Then every other national outlet in the nation followed suit.
Who would have guessed that a bible-banging conservative from Louisiana, where gay sex is still technically illegal, might have held such bigoted, backward views?
In the same interview Robertson claims that African-Americans were been better off in the Jim Crow south. (Recall how many African-Americans and white people gave their lives to bring the Jim Crow era to an end.)
Like so many former 60's counterculture figures, Robertson gave up his dissolute life to became a born-again Christian, shrugging off his own well-documented misdeeds but serving up a barrel full of biblical wrath to everyone else.
To the Religious Right, sinners are other people apparently.
Robertson, it should be noted, wasn't fired for his odious comments he was suspended. He will probably be fired when the wider US public finally get wind of his views on Jim Crow.
You can certainly guess why A&E suspended him. They are a business, with a bottom line. One of their main hires was suddenly damaging their brand with insanely hateful comments about gay people and even more shocking comments about African-Americans, so they cut his mic.
Corporations do this to extremist figures on the right and on the left all the time. It's impersonal as a dollar bill.
But dependable freak out factory Sarah Palin and her followers weren't in a magnanimous mood this week. 'Free speech is an endangered species,' Palin wrote on her Facebook page on Wednesday.
That reminds me. Earlier this year Palin compared a possible United States debt default to slavery in the South, and her eye-popping disrespect incensed former MSNBC anchor Martin Bashir, who quoted a notorious slave owners manual to underscore the true horrors of that benighted era in US history.
Bashir resigned for his transgression. I don’t imagine Robertson ever will for his.
I imagine Palin forgot to Tweet her support for Bashir's right to free speech too, so I eagerly await her Facebook update. I'm sure it's coming any minute.
Apparently to Palin and her fellow travelers, racism and homophobia are just 'personal opinions.' They have a God-given right to offend and diminish the humanity of their neighbors and you just have to shut up and take it because for conservatives, as the past week has shown, rights only seem to mean 'I get to impose my views on everyone else and they don't get to question it.'
Meanwhile by wrongly insisting that Robertson's suspension is a 'free speech' issue, the hundreds of thousands of social conservatives running to Phil Robertson's defense are simultaneously confirming both their bigotry and their racism to the greatly unimpressed nation.
It's making for a greater show than the one they're defending.
Below is Robertson speaking in his own words. He will certainly be free to do so as long he likes, just as we will be free to say that he comes off like a cross between Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps.
Although A&E did the right thing by suspending him, we have to wonder at their wisdom in giving a man like that, who so casually expresses his sheer contempt for millions of his fellow Americans, a national platform in the first place: