The pointless queer overreaction to Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s homophobia has created a poster child for the right, says Rob ‘The Loose Cannon’ Buchanan.
It’s depressingly obvious with the whole Duck Dynasty debacle in late December that we queers fluffed an opportunity to enlighten and change hearts and minds, and instead created an unwitting media martyr. Phil Robertson is now being used as a political pawn by luminaries of our time such as Alabama State Senator Jerry Fielding and of course the wicked witch of the North, Sarah Palin.
The massive overreaction to Robertson’s statements has turned what was a tawdry interview, which should have embarrassed nobody but Robertson, into a fiasco that has arguably blown up in our faces. But I don’t mind that so much. We journey towards gay rights on a tough road and will not be undermined by a bump along the way. What disappoints me is the missed opportunity to draw solidarity between other minority groups, who were also insulted by Robertson the GQ interview.
It was obvious to me from the outset that the queer powers that be were trying to crack a walnut with a lump hammer here. They missed an opportunity to open the debate to humour, to poke fun at and hopefully educate this unsophisticated man. They also missed a golden opportunity show the direct links between homophobia and the multitude of other issues this particular rant raised. Racism and homophobia often go hand-in-hand, but seldom the link is so directly obvious as. While Robertson compared homosexuality to bestiality in the same breath he said that African Americans were “happier working the fields pre-welfare”.
Instead of taking Robertson seriously, his interview should have been interpreted as an ill-informed rant from an uncouth, unenlightened redneck. By lending his homophobia credence, it became a lightning rod for right wing rednecks and moderates frustrated with the PC brigade.
We do not win hearts and minds through demanding censorship. Senator Fielding has jumped on the bandwagon and wants to paint Robertson as some sort of folk hero – a free thinker who has been silenced by the evil gay mafia. Louisiana’s Republican Governor, Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin had already gotten their oar in, however it’s notable that Palin admitted she had never even bothered to read Robertson’s remarks before she threw her support behind his cause.
Maybe this will blow over, maybe Mr. Robertson will see the error of his ways. However the Tea Party in the US are likely to run with this poster child for the anti-gay agenda, which the gay movement has unwittingly created. I think it was a great mistake for us queers to stoop so low to get involved in this nonsense.
We need to pick our fights wisely. As the old saying goes: “Never argue with idiots. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience”.
One of the most obvious side-effects of bigotry is a lack of imagination – an inability to see things from the perspective of the people you might persecute. We should exploit this lack of imagination. We should approach ignorance with disarming humour, intellect and above all an integrity that cannot be questioned.
Remember, our goal is equality and freedom. We cannot not win it by censoring others.
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