Freedom of Speech
OK, before you get ticked off and stop reading this after a sentence or two, let me assure you this is NOT a one sided opinion and I'll ask you to PLEASE read the rest of the blog before you just tune out. Hi, Nancy Carey Johnson, Singer/Songwriter here to tell you that while I'm most definitely opinionated I'm not "political" meaning that I don't believe in shoving my own 'personal politics' down anybody else's throat. But this is bigger, MUCH bigger than 'personal politics'. I'm referring to the "Duck Dynasty" fiasco. Apparently 'Papa Duck' aka Phil Robertson gave an interview in which he was honest about his views on homosexuality. And because the world is as it is now, the hullabaloo his opinions created was epic in proportion. Really? What am I missing? Our first amendment gives him the right to his opinion and freedom of speech. Just because you don't like or agree with his opinions does NOT mean he should be censored! Fact is, he own's his opinions and is entitled to them - whether you or I agree with them or not. That being said, those creating the firestorm of outrage are ALSO entitled to their opinions - whether you or I or 'Papa Duck' or anybody else agrees with them. Armed with this, HOW is it people think he should pulled off the air? WHY isn't it OK for him to have personal opinions that don't agree with others? OK, stay with me here because the 'Papa Duck' firestorm is only PART of the problem.
The NEXT part (for me at least) would be when Natalie Maines made her infamous statement, "... and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas." While I would suggest that Natalie's statement was 'graceless' ONLY due to the fact that the Dixie Chicks core audience was fairly conservative, I am APPALLED at the treatment she (and they) received. As I see it, she, like the rest of us, should be allowed to have her own opinion and share her views - After all, she ALSO own's her opinions and is entitled to them -WHETHER or not you or I agree with them. Perhaps the thing that bothered me most about the ostracization of Natalie and the Dixie Chicks was the fact that generally speaking those with conservative views tend to believe in and uphold the constitution, which includes the 1st amendment. So why is it that Natalie wasn't permitted to have her own personal thoughts without being persecuted? I was going to say ostracized until I remembered that she and they received death threats! Really? Because she had a different opinion than that of others? Where is that right or fair? WHY did a sentence uttered once by one woman wreck the Dixie Chicks career? Agree with her opinion or not, the Dixie Chicks were on top because they had an incredible magic with their instrumentation, vocal qualities and gorgeous harmonies, all down the toilet because of an opinion?
While I was discussing the Dixie Chicks downfall with a friend, she pointed out that the Chick's audience were ALSO exercising their 1st amendment rights by holding 'Dixie Chicken Tosses' wherein people would go to a central public place and throw away their Dixie Chicks CD's. I would agree that the fans had every right to do so and that it was in fact a from of freedom of speech, guaranteed them by the same First Amendment that guarantees Natalie and Phil their freedom of speech.
Seems to me that it's time for Americans to grow up and behave in a polite and responsible manner. Realize that there are millions of opinions, that most probably you will not agree with the preponderance of them nor will the majority of people agree with yours but that's Ok because THANKFULLY under the protection of the Constitution of the United States, you and I, Natalie Maines and Phil Robertson all have the right to our opinions, and being censored for such is just plain wrong.
I think it's about time, no really it's WAY past time that we learn to say, "I don't agree with your opinion but that's OK I don't have to" let it go at that and end the outrageous backlash of those we don't agree with. Let's learn to be civil and polite and not wreck people's careers just because we disagree with them, where is that right?
Hope you're well,