Last week I wrote my weekly commentary on the whole “Duck Dynasty” debacle. I asked, “Could it be that these bearded, successful hillbillies are the impetus to restore God to the center of the American economy, and heal this republic? That is almost as crazy sounding as some Jewish carpenter born in a cattle stall coming to save the world.”
I always read letters that people send regarding my posts, and most of them are very gracious. Last week, I was caught off-guard by the venom from a handful of conservatives rebuking me for writing about “the ‘Duck Dynasty’ distraction” (as one reader coined). Others criticized my appearance on Fox News as giving “credence” to the “perverts” at A&E.
My perennial critics seized the opportunity to throw in that I had also been disloyal to the conservative movement by (again) giving "credence" to ABC when I participated in a reality show. Then again when I appeared on Comedy Central and on Al Jazeera, et al. Heck, you can throw the 10 years I spent in liberal universities to my indiscretions, while you're at it! I guess my list of codifying liberal networks and institutions is legit, if a conservative appearance there makes them look cool or something.
For a long time, I have spent most of my work life imploring conservatives to engage on every front, in every battle. I have asked conservatives time and time again to rise up, take the risk and be the cultural warriors, whether it is in social media, on a liberal network or to their neighbor. But I could be wrong. I have been wrong before.
I like to consider myself a perpetual student, so I try to rationally think things through as I contemplate others' critiques of my ideas. Thinking through my contention that conservatives should engage in the "Duck Dynasty" fiasco (though it seemed somewhat boisterous and peripheral), I wondered if maybe that fight was frivolous. Why engage the perpetual statist bullies when they seem to win every time?
Going along with that idea, let's pretend for a moment that none of us ever sit for advanced degrees. That's a start.
Then let's be certain we never legitimize liberal networks by appearing on them, going on there to define the narrative or even writing or talking about them in conservative outlets. That will show 'em! Right?
Next, let's be sure we never engage the culture. Andrew Breitbart was probably all wrong anyway when he said that politics follows culture. After all, what proof do we have that culture is upstream of politics? I mean, the culturally moral constitutionalists have won all these national elections and own the Supreme Court. Just look at the moral conviction of our president, DOJ, NSA, TSA, SEC … ahhh, what a great precedent we have established by ducking out of culture!
It naturally follows that we should have "ducked out" of the whole "Duck Dynasty" distraction and continued to hammer only topics we deem important, because God and country aren't really all that important. We shouldn't have gotten distracted defining the narrative so that Cracker Barrel and A&E both folded to our demands. We should have kept quiet, as Boehner does, when they went after our values and ducked in a corner while the left owned the airwaves and headlines for the millions of people who are going to vote in a few months and determine the direction of our nation.
Winning isn't really our swag.
No, instead of proving to this country once and for all that it is OK for Christians to have opinions, too, we should have had more blue pills! Soma all around! We have video games and fantasy football to win, after all! That's what really matters!
The Bill of Rights is so last century.
The best thing might just be to duck and cover when someone on the right says something crude, and the 2 percent of the 1 percent complain, so that they can further define what "hate speech" means.
Please do not email to correct me that the "Duck Dynasty" situation had nothing to do with the constitutional rights. When a politically connected, extremist lobby funded by a certain political party is sent to terrorize a business and a family over a political issue, the First Amendment does apply. Just as the Constitution applied when KKK members terrorized families and businesses who did not support their suppression of black Americans. No one said, "These are private Klansmen going after private citizens and businesses. The KKK has every right to push their agenda."
A&E always had the right to fire Phil. But this was never about a private business transaction. This was about a political group terrorizing people who express their religion. While conservatives yell and scream at other conservatives, calling them idiots for citing the Constitution on this issue, the leftists are mobilizing their troops to get voters to the polls. The left has taken one more step in the direction of criminalizing what Robertson said as hate speech.
If I am wrong, and this debate is actually not about constitutional rights, then it will be soon. Low-information voters will be heading to the polls at the direction of Democrat-connected leftist groups like GLAAD to elect politicians willing to silence vocal Christians like Robertson. While we are arguing amongst ourselves over whether this is a distraction – and whether this is a constitutional issue – the left is working to take away your constitutional freedoms.
The only "Duck Dynasty" "distraction" I see is the bickering on the right.
Maybe, just maybe, we can buck up and capitalize on one thing still beautiful (even when offensive and clumsy) about this country, our right of free speech! Maybe we can use the example of Phil's bad choice of words and subsequent controversy as a teachable moment for the sophomorically minded out there. Maybe we can use "Duck Dynasty" to speak to the millions of hearts out there who are convertible, if we bother to go into their turf and communicate with them.
In my column last week, it struck me as ironic that the statists repeatedly turn these minority groups (by gender, sexual identity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc.) into pawns by painting them as victims, and themselves as the answer to all their woes. It's a lie from the pit of hell, and that is one thing, no matter how "moderate" or "conservative" someone is, that is easy to understand if someone takes the time to explain it.
I said, "I can't see how any minority would want to lose their rights and freedoms to speak against the grain. Let's not forget that gays were sent to concentration camps and gas chambers by every leftist who successfully convinced his country to suppress free speech. Gays are more oppressed in the former Communist, now socialist, Russia than anywhere outside the Muslim world. Many gay people probably know that and realize that it is minorities who have the most to lose when free speech is controlled by big government, and big money, with a radical political agenda."
If one could sit down face to face, and many have in the past few weeks, and discuss their common ground on this very issue, 90 percent of gays would rather side with Phil Robertson's right to believe and say what he believes than GLAAD's efforts to silence him.
It is our engagement, our "Duck Dynasty" "distraction," that won this sample battle of culture. Hearts were turned, as I have argued they could be when we engage the culture.
How can we call ourselves culture warriors when we are willing to cede the battle to the statists on every front? How can we ever hope to win if we don't even show up? How can we call ourselves Judeo-Christian when we turn our guns on ourselves in circular fire because we are so self-righteous about the "only road" to victory?
What if the critics are right, and we do inadvertently give credence to the statist networks and institutions by engaging in an attempt to win hearts and minds for our cause?
What if we lose?
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
As the New Year approaches and we have many midterm battles to fight, the timing on this victory was critical to the war ahead
We won hearts and minds. I have letters from those who "tuned in" to the threats against their freedoms over this issue because conservatives defined the narrative, participated in the social media discussion, boycotted, BUYcotted and fought back until the bullies blinked.
If we win hearts, battle by battle, engagement by engagement, risk by risk, don't you think that in the end, we'll be glad we didn't, ahem … duck?