I stayed pretty cool during the whole Phil Robertson Duck Dynasty fiasco, but a week ago I saw yet another person claim “freedom of speech” as having some part in the scenario (beyond allowing him to be a moron on television without going to jail). I can’t handle the ignorance. Read the First Amendment, America. Figure it out.

Alright, America, check it out: If you're going to repeatedly refer to "freedom of speech" rights as your sole argument for or against something, you might want to make sure you understand what the First Amendment actually protects.

What's the First Amendment? Yeah, I thought so. You see. This is the problem. You don't read the actual documents. You sure didn't listen in government class, but then you jump up and down squealing from your pedestal of glory how the famed bigot from Duck Dynasty had his "freedom of speech" rights violated. Or enforced.

You know, I feel like I handled the whole Phil Robertson Duck Dynasty fiasco pretty well. I just kind of stayed out of it. To me, it's clear: The man is a bigot of the horrifying variety. The best thing about people like him is that they're on their way out. And yes, I mean that in the not-very-nice-at-all way. Translation: They're going to die soon.

Do I think all people who enjoy the show and still watch it are bigots? Nope. Would I watch it? Nope.

Am I surprised A&E "took him back?" A little, only because we skewered Paula Deen for her racist comments and she permanently lost contracts (and rightly so).

But framing homosexuality as a gateway drug to bestiality? Apparently that's within the realm of tolerable, or tolerable after a short lay-off.

I kind of hate people sometimes.

But ultimately it's about money. A&E makes money off the duck people. They want to make more money off the duck people. End of story.

Yay 'Merica! Go team!

But I didn't get too riled up. I had mellow conversations with family members who felt he shouldn't be fired (but adamantly disagreed with what he said, of course — I mean come on, I don't come from trash! Oops. Was that my outside voice?).

But a few days ago I saw the comment that threw me over the edge. In response to a post about The Bearded Duck Bigot getting reinstated in his former position, some genius wrote this: "Yay! Freedom of speech being protected!"

And that was it. I lost it.

It does not say: "There shall be no repercussions for saying stupid things."

And now you get this: America, the First Amendment is the original source for the "freedom of speech" promise and it says this: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances" (Source).

It does not say: "There shall be no repercussions for saying stupid things."

It does not say: "One shall not be fired for saying things that piss your employer off or cause him/her harm."

It says, essentially, "You can't make a law dictating what people can and can't say." But this, of course, is not entirely true, since all sorts of "speech acts" are illegal: those associated with child pornography, libel, slander, threats, yelling "fire" in a public place, etc., but thankfully, in America, people saying wildly unpopular things, whether it's in favor of civil rights or comparing homosexuality to bestiality, are not thrown in jail for their opinions.

You see, Phil Robertson exercised his right of free speech by sharing his views on national television. A&E then exercised their right to free speech by laying him off. And then, they took him back — another demonstration of the above. Nobody went to jail for anything they said.

Do you follow me here?

There are consequences

It does not, however, mean they won't lose jobs, friends, positions of power or suffer other consequences for their decisions. So, Duck Dude facing a loss of his job was not a violation of his "freedom of speech" rights, despite what America keeps screaming on Facebook.

To illustrate the ridiculousness of this "argument," let's apply it to an imaginary scenario:

Dear American Who Thinks Duck Guy had His Freedom of Speech Rights Violated:

Imagine you walk into Walmart some Saturday and ask an employee where you can find the Bud Light. To your shock, the employee responds, "I have an idea. How about you kick rocks. Leave me alone, jerk." Irate, you find the store manager and tell her what happened. She says "Yeah, I know, but we can't fire him because of his First Amendment right to free speech."

Do you see the problem here? Please say yes.

And please, please stop throwing the term "freedom of speech" around the internet like a toddler with a baseball: random, confused, irritating (and possibly dangerous).

And please, please stop throwing the term "freedom of speech" around the internet like a toddler with a baseball: random, confused, irritating (and possibly dangerous).

Frankly, you make us all look like idiots. Well, maybe not all of us. Some of us do that just fine on our own, on national television, enjoying our "freedom of speech," at whatever cost to ourselves.

The real irony here is that people keep claiming Wrinkly Duck Man's freedom of speech rights were violated when actually it is precisely those rights that allow people like him to get on television and spew whatever nonsense drivel they learned from backward churches in the first place.

And he does so freely.

Even in the face of decency, he does so freely.

This whole thing is more evidence of the need to raise kids with compassion and tolerance, not only for those who live differently, but those who believe differently.

As parents, this is more reason for us to teach our kids what American rights consist of and how they manifest in daily life. And for me, personally, this whole thing is more evidence of the need to raise kids with compassion and tolerance, not only for those who live differently, but those who believe differently. I can't stand the likes of Phil Robertson, but I'm glad he has a right to stand up and spout his moronic ideas.

While he is awful, the alternative is worse.

And frankly, this is all more incentive to pressure our kids to pay attention in government class.

More on civil rights

Hey Paula Deen, slaves were not your "family"
When will homophobic Americans realize the country has abandoned them?
How to talk to your kids about white privilege

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