Monthly Archives: December 2013

Duck Call

The A&E Channel has a variety of programming that caters to a diverse viewership. The network is dependent upon ratings driven revenue. When an employee of a company makes statements that might dissuade customers from offering patronage, then *any* company –no matter how they generate earnings– is compelled to do what’s in the best interests of the stock holders. Certainly a significant portion of the A&E customer base/viewership who are of African origin, and/or homosexual.

I would venture to say that there is a probability that there are executives in the company that Mr. Robertson (“Duck Dynasty”) works for who are also either gay, or African Americans (who lived through the civil rights movement), and who were insulted by his remarks. If any employee, anywhere purposefully insults their employers, the repercussion is usually a suspension, or dismissal. I don’t imagine that anyone reading this who is under the employ of another has the ability to publicly denounce the source of their income. 

There is also a distinct probability that Robertson violated the terms and conditions of his contract. When one has a high profile, public job, they are contractually bound to not embarrass the company they work for. As such, contracted media personalities are “employees at will”, and are subject to a professional code of conduct.

Moreover, if a cashier at a supermarket  purposefully insulted a group of customers, for whatever reason, there would be a reasonable expectation for said cashier to be let go. If a corporate executive violated company policy by making disparaging remarks about class, race or gender, they would at the very least be subjected to a human resources review.  Why should this be any different?

To another point, Mr. Robertson’s was not hired by A&E to offer sociological perspectives. Nor do his bigoted statements about gays and blacks constitute a “differing opinion”.  There is certainly a difference between saying that “homosexuality is against my religion”, and offering an unwarranted, ignorant commentary.

Also, while first amendment activists are concerned about protecting uncomfortable free speech, Phil Robertson’s remarks are not likened to Don Imus, who was hired for off-color humor and to give his opinion. One could make the argument –and I certainly did– that Imus’ firing was purely born of politically correctness, and propagated by a special interest/ third party. Robertson’s suspension is much more likely to be in the best interests of his employer.  Indeed, Phil Robertson’s social commentary were purposefully made uninformed statements, and intended to solicit negative attention.

However many who are defending Mr. Robertson’s purposefully bigoted, overtly ignorant assertions as “free speech” are cowardly doing so under that guise so as to propagate their like-minded hatred of gays and minorities. It is merely a way to publicly support right wing, homophobic, racist predispositions and pretend that it’s Robertson who is being victimized, rather than the groups he is  disparaging. Thankfully, most Americans know better.

 For if one finds themselves earning a significant income in a high profile position, they can no longer hide behind religion, colloquial provincialism, being a “child of the sixties” or a bastardization of the first amendment and hope to escape societal constructs.

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False Equivalent

To the uninitiated, it all might seem the same.

Without a fundamental grasp of economics or sociology, our two party political system might appear to be two sides of the same coin. Granted, in some ways both the political left and right are similar in their duplicity. However in most ways, especially in regards to the departure from the post WW2 economic model that built the largest middle class in the history of western civilization that brought about the civil rights movement and put both a man on the moon and a computer in everyone’s home, only the 21st century Republican party and their sympathetic media affiliates represent a fundamental divergence from the socio/economic ideals that made America great.

With the discourse of the conservative entertainment complex driving the nation’s narrative further and further right, the political middle has moved accordingly. As such, well intentioned political centrists –in an effort to be a voice of reason in our nation’s vitriolic partisanship– are finding themselves making socio/economic concessions that just a few years ago would have been considered both irrational, and far too extreme. Today’s center was yesterday’s far right.

The dismantling of all of the socio/economic mechanisms between FDR and Ronald Reagan has become rationalized via right wing/corporatist/theocratic platitudes. Vilifying the economic functions that created post war America is a singular Republican phenomenon. Yet there remains a concerted effort on the part of many to attempt a political counter-balance by equating less-than-sane, economically illiterate ravings from a GOP –now controlled by fundamentalist, Dominionist Christians– and whatever imbecilic dolt one can dredge from the left.

But these are false equivalents.

For there is no Democratic equal for the Christian Dominionist right, and the twelfth century socio/economic model they propose. Virtually every piece of legislation initiated by the GOP in the twenty-first century is designed to create a greater economic disparity between the very wealthy, and everyone else. There is a consistent effort on the part of the Christian fundamentalist 21st century GOP to subjugate women, punish the poor, and make the working class bear the entire burden of economic austerity. And it has become impossible to run for national office as a republican without capitulating to the Evangelical lobby.

There is no Democratic equivalent for the TEA Party, and their less-than-sane, not too-bright socio/economic affirmations. The “Occupy Wall Street” movement not only couldn’t get traction within the Democratic Party, it ran no candidates for public office. The bastardization of history and scripture –not to mention the thinly veiled bigotry of the TEA Party– have become standard talking points within the Republican party.

Moreover, there is no Democratic equivalent for the irrational ravings of the Conservative Entertainment Complex and their corresponding media affiliates. While MSNBC might be a ridiculously partisan public relations outlet for the left, FOX news has no equal in their fact deficient moral bankruptcy, or their unapologetic conjuring of fear driven non-events . Indeed, FOX News has the worst fact-check record on television, by far. It’s not just that FOX presents “news” in a partisan fashion, they fabricate it to create paranoia from their constituency. Likewise, right- wing talk radio is inundated with hate mongering lunatics who tout paranoid schizophrenic platitudes like Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter, or Alex Jones… for which there are no comparable counterparts from the left.

And there is no Democratic equivalent for the quasi-celebrities that continually get air-time in the conservative talk-o-sphere. Across America, synaptically impaired conservative celebrities like Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, and Ted Nugent have become stars by blathering irrational, fact deficient banalities. With a pedestrian socio/economic acumen, these dullards get regular spots on conservative TV and radio programs, and get paid to speak at TEA party rallies. There is no Democratic example of this.

So I often hear from folks on social media that both Democrats & Republicans are “equally to blame” for our nation’s economic woes, and that neither party is interested in helping the middle class. But the socio/economic reality is far from that comparison. I understand the noble intention of neutrality, but in this instance, it is misguided.

Like frogs in a kettle, the GOP electorate has been subjected to the economic temperature slowly having been turned up over time. A further right discourse has been slowly introduced to working class Republicans over the past 30 years, and many are finding it difficult to realize that their party has moved away from them. The Corporatist/Christian Dominionist GOP now accords the best interests of an elite few. As it has been in every example of history when religion and politics become one, every Republican socio/economic measure of austerity comes at the expense of the middle class.

So sure, the Democratic party is flawed, and in many ways, infuriating. I get that. But to be a working class Republican in the twenty first century, one must concede reason to willful socio/economic ignorance, if not one’s own bigoted predispositions. Where it concerns sociology, economics, and the mechanisms that made this country great … when juxtaposed against the very ideals the 21st century GOP propose and the history of how theocracies impact the proletariat… There are no rational comparisons to be made between the blemished Democratic party, and the irrational GOP.