In a roundtable discussion — i.e., let’s tear apart the liberal — on Sean Hannity’s show over on Fox News last week, Geraldo Rivera and company decided to use the controversy surrounding Duck Dynasty as an excuse to berate Democrats — like Joe Biden — for all the dumb, politically insensitive things they have said, while asserting that the dumb, politically insensitive things that people on their side of the aisle said don’t mean as much because a guy like Phil Robertson — who commands 13 million viewers a week — doesn’t carry as much sway as the Vice President of the United States because all he does is blow into duck callers.
At one point during the conversation, when one of the liberal members of the panel had the audacity to suggest that a private television network had the right to air whatever it deemed suitable for its viewers (capitalism!), Sean Hannity suggested that liberals only attack conservatives, but that when liberals step out of line, liberals don’t attack our own. When one of the liberal panelists offered up Alec Baldwin, Rivera came to Baldwin’s defense. “[What he said] is not a homophobic slur. If you grew up where we grew up, in that era, those comments were commonplace.” Then Hannity said something about “thought police,” and my brain shut down.
Oh! I see! We’ve been approaching all of this the wrong way, people! Context, geographic location, and upbringing matter! If Paula Deen says the n-word, it’s not because she’s racist, it’s because in the era she grew up in, that word was commonplace. When Mel Gibson suggested that Jews were responsible for all the wars, he wasn’t being anti-semitic. That’s just the way he was raised!
We in the “thought police” just have to cut people more slack, folks, because not every offensive, demeaning, bigoted, and homophobic thing that other people say is offensive. Baldwin didn’t mean to suggest that the photographer was gay, he just meant to suggest that he sucked dicks (don’t we all!?), and when Paula Deen uses the n-word, it wasn’t racist. That’s just what they called black people back in her day! And when Phil Richardson said that blacks were happier when they were picking cotton and singing before that dastardly welfare came along, well, you have to put that into the context of Phil Robertson being raised in a hateful era in the South when Ku Klux Klan members were regularly voted into office. It’s just a different era, y’all! Bygones!