Am I the only one who thinks it is funny that this whole Duck Dynasty controversy has flipped the standard political ideology on its head? My friends on the Right are the ones arguing for the rights of the employee and my compatriots on the Left are the ones saying that the powerful, faceless corporation should have total say over his life 24/7. Just an observation. On to this week’s Winners and Losers and yes, the Great Louisiana Redneck Comment Controversy of 2013 made the list.
Smaller Government – Winner - I moved to the Great State of Texas this year. When I first arrived here I was frankly appalled at the fact that there is no household recycling program here. I was so disappointed that my new home cared so little about the environment that they couldn’t be bothered to recycle. Five months into my Texas journey, I see just how wrong I was to judge so quickly. Instead of the government using our tax dollars to provide sturdy plastic recycling bins and send extremely expensive specialized trucks to my house to pick up my recycling, I have to drop by one of the conveniently located recycling centers to drop it off. It is that simple. The thought is that the people who are either too lazy or care so little that they won’t leave five minutes early on their way to school or work to drop off the recycling probably wouldn’t bother to separate their recycling at home anyway. So this program gets the same results with a fraction of the cost (in theory, anyway). Personal responsibility for the collective good – what a concept.
Bill O’Reilly – Winner, sort of - Bill O’Reilly took to the airwaves this week to expressly disavow Phil Robertson’s controversial statements and publicly support the LGBT movement. No, really. I am totally serious. The Conservative mouthpiece said exactly what LGBT leaders want influencers to say. He was unequivocal in his “we’re all in the together” stance in denouncing Robertson. The reason that I couched O’Reilly’s winner status with the ever-so-eloquent “sort of” is that I have yet to see him get even the tiniest sliver of appreciation from the quarters that generally malign him but should be lauding him this week. LGBT and Liberal groups should remember the old adage about “the enemy of my enemy”.
A&E – Loser - Talk about your knee-jerk overreaction. A&E’s immediate suspension of Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson was ill-conceived and poorly enacted. The self-described “champions of LGBT” issues killed their golden goose for the crime of expressing a personal opinion in an interview with GQ Magazine. I guess the network honchos never considered that the rest of the cast – who just so happen to all be members of Phil’s immediate family – may take exception. Now A&E is in the uncomfortable position of having to stick by their overreaction in order not to alienate their core constituency at the cost of alienating their bread and butter – fans of the only show on the network with ratings worthy of mention. A&E is in a bad spot with no apparent workable exit strategy.
Ayo Kimathi – Winner - Ayo Kimathi, the Department of Homeland Security employee who made national headlines in August when it was revealed that he was running a hate-filled racist website must be enjoying all the furor over Robertson’s single, non-violent comment. Kimathi is on paid leave – which sounds an awful lot like a vacation to me – four months later and still running his hate-mongering website calling for the genocide of all people with white skin.
Christmas – Winner - There has been a noticeable lull in the alleged War on Christmas this year. After several seasons of getting only fearful and confused looks from store clerks upon wishing them a “Merry Christmas,” I have noticed that I am more apt to get an affirmative response this year. And as Camp Campaign correspondent Eric Blake explains, my experience seems to be part of a larger trend away from the ongoing secular / humanist War on Christmas.