Monday, December 30, 2013

Duck Dynasty and a Christmas Creche

By Arnold Ahlert 

The A&E/Duck Dynasty circus and an effort in South Florida to denigrate a Christmas creche display are both driven by the same components. They are classic examples of political correctness run amok, coupled with the idea that the whiners of the world are somehow entitled to special consideration, even when that consideration amounts to nothing more than the tyranny of the minority.

Let’s begin with Duck Dynasty and Phil Robertson. I don’t watch the show, I have never watched the show and, quite frankly, I find America’s obsession with so-called reality TV a bit depressing. To me it’s the equivalent of slowing down at an accident site, hoping to see some blood and guts, or at the very least, someone whose life has taken a turn worse than one’s own. In fact, I would submit that the primary reason for the public’s attraction to reality shows is a combination of voyeurism and “schadenfreude”. People like seeing what is ostensibly private, and they take a certain amount of delight in the notion that others, especially celebrities, are every bit as boring and screwed up as the average American.

And while it may seem that Duck Dynasty doesn’t fit that particular description, Americans would be naive to believe it was conceived by the suits at A&E to be an uplifting look at an unusual family. Make no mistake: it was supposed to be a har-di-har-har, “look at those stupid rednecks” putdown of American flyover country. Trust me when I tell you that no one was more surprised than those same A&E execs when it not only didn’t turn out that way, it became the smash hit of cable TV. They were surprised because they conflate bicoastal elitism with “superior” values. That attitude makes them virtually immune to the idea that millions of Americans might be laughing with the Robertsons and not at them.

Even worse? Those same Americans might share at least some of the Robertson family values.

Enter the infamous GQ interview.  Here are the three quotes that engendered a leftist firestorm:

1. “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

2. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he says. (Then he paraphrases Corinthians): “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.” 

3. “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person. Not once. Where we lived was all farmers. The blacks worked for the farmers. I hoed cotton with them. I’m with the blacks, because we’re white trash. We’re going across the field…. They’re singing and happy. I never heard one of them, one black person, say, I tell you what: These doggone white people’—not a word!... Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare, you say: Were they happy? They were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Note a couple of things. First, because Robertson’s personal opinions about sin and personal experience with black Americans don’t align themselves with leftist sensibilities, he was automatically branded a homophobe and a racist. Second, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers and the swindlers apparently haven’t organized themselves nearly as well as the militant homosexuals or the racial hucksters, neither of whom ever miss an opportunity to tell their fellow Americans what an irredeemably homophobic and racist nation we live in.

Equally important, both groups are willing to distort both the meaning and the intent of the above quotes to advance that narrative.

Here’s the short version of Robertson’s outlook: he believes homosexuality and a whole host of other things are sinful, and he had a happy experience with black Americans growing up. Everything else you’ve read and heard otherwise, every interpretation, extrapolation or “hidden” meaning presented as the “real” story is part of the aforementioned distortion. A coordinated, willful and orchestrated distortion by those who believe they own the franchise on what everyone should believe.

In other words, political correctness is nothing more than pure intimidation. And despite the nauseatingly endless professions of “tolerance” that emanate from the progressive side of the cultural divide, you either get with their program, or you’re a target.

Unfortunately, that’s only half the agenda. The other half concerns the leftist notion that tolerance and approval are interchangeable terms. That’s an absolute crock. There are plenty of things one is willing to tolerate in our pluralistic society. But the idea that tolerance must lead directly to approval—lest one become less of human being for failing to bridge that gap—is a bridge too far. It’s precisely that “sale” the left has endeavored to make for decades, and it represents the antithesis of a pluralistic society. It is nothing less than totalitarianism masquerading itself as enlightened thinking.

The ultimate manifestation of a truly pluralistic society can be reduced to four words: live and let live. You want approval for something? Go see your mommy—or your colleagues in whatever grievance group that’s been organized to collectivize your indignation

Which brings us to item two, a South Florida newspaper’s castigation of a town Mayor willing to defy the doyens of PC, and erect a Christmas creche on public property. “Our region takes pride in being a melting pot of religions and beliefs and nationalities,” writes the Sun-Sentinel editorial board. “People from all over the world come here to visit and live, and they should be respected.”

So what constitutes disrespect? Try this with regard to the city of Deerfield Beach and its Mayor Jean Robb:

Commissioners passed a law in October that allows no one but the city to erect holiday displays on city land. At the same time, the city said the Nativity scene that has long appeared in December at Fire Station No. 1 at Federal Highway and Hillsboro Boulevard would not be there anymore. They said they didn’t plan to add any more religious displays, and if they did, the entire commission would have to make the decision.

It was a smart decision, recognizing the separation of church and state and limiting the possibility of lawsuits against the city.

Ah, but Jean Robb would have none of that.

Last week, at her direction, the Nativity scene was again set up at the fire station, apparently without the approval of the rest of the city commission. And Robb was particularly insulting in explaining why the creche was returned.

“I really feel that no one should tell us how we should celebrate the most sacred occurrence on the Christian calendar,” she said. “Ninety percent of the people in the United States celebrate Christmas. The other 10 percent shouldn’t influence the way we celebrate our holiday.”

In other words if you don’t hold the same beliefs as Jean Robb, you probably shouldn’t feel welcome in Deerfield Beach.

Again, note a couple of things. The Nativity scene had “long appeared” at the fire station—meaning that for a long time, live and let live was the operative factor in Deerfield Beach, just as it had been all over the nation—for decades—before the rise of political correctness. Further note, that this rise has engendered one of two outcomes: despite the reality that the overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas, these scenes either have to be removed completely, or every other religion and ism must be equally represented to the point of absurdity.

That absurdity was epitomized by the display at the capitol rotunda in Madison, Wisconsin where a 30-foot Christmas tree, a nativity-like scene that mocks religion and a Festivus pole occupy the space. “The rotunda is getting very cluttered,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. “But if a devotional nativity display is allowed, then there must be ‘room at the inn’ for all points of view, including irreverency and free thought.”

Much to her credit, Deerfield Mayor Jean Robb was having none of that kind of all-or-nothing nonsense.

Thus, the Sentinel concluded her attitude was “insulting,” even as it further insisted that one “shouldn’t feel welcome in Deerfield Beach” because there’s a Christmas creche sitting in front of a fire house—at Christmas time.

Oh, the humanity!

My letter to the editor was short and sweet: “Mayor Jean Robb’s rationale for erecting a Christmas creche was spot on. Those who are offended, or as the Sun-Sentinel editorial board suggests, ‘feel unwelcome’ in Deerfield Beach, need to get a life. As for the Constitution, the mayor didn’t ‘establish’ anything. And it’s freedom of religion, not freedom from it.”

I can only speak for myself, but I’m betting more than a few Americans are sick and tired of the whiners who think the rest of us should kowtow to their oh-so-delicate sensibilities, to the point where everyone from Satanists to Jerry Seinfeld fans should be accommodated in a Christmas display, or a single complaint about something should be equally weighed against the desires of an overwhelming majority of people. Those who insist that no one can prioritize anything, or profess to be “offended” by something like a Nativity scene have deeper issues. Many of those issues are animated by the simple reality that, despite pious professions of tolerance and inclusion, far too many of our leftist brethren aren’t happy unless they are making their fellow Americans miserable.

Last week the PC crowd and the whiners got shot down. Phil Robertson is back on Duck Dynasty, and the Christmas creche remains on display in Deerfield Beach, all the hang-wring and gnashing of teeth notwithstanding. Hopefully, it’s the beginning of a trend. Americans shouldn’t feel like they have to walk on eggshells regarding what they believe, no matter how politically incorrect. That’s what the marketplace of free ideas is all about. Nor should they feel beholden to those who bristle at the notion of live and let live, when it intrudes on their hypersensitive universe. The elitists and the complainers need to get over themselves. Despite every effort on their part, they lost these two battles for the simplest of reasons: a lot of Americans can still think for themselves.

Nothing angers—and frightens—the American left more than that.

Canada Free Press