The annual State of the Union address has gone the way of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. A gathering of Washington’s political elite with a sprinkling of ne’erdowells to liven things up. And not for the better.
Last year, Ted Nugent befouled the visitors gallery in the House chamber. The repugnant rocker was the guest of the reprehensible Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.). All it apparently took to score a coveted seat was stir up controversy by calling President Obama a “criminal” who doesn’t “even like the Constitution.”
This year’s SOTU bird-flip from the GOP comes from Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.). The freshman from Louisiana’s fifth congressional district invited Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” to be his guest. On the one hand, it’s understandable. The Robertson clan and their reality television show are based in Louisiana. On the other hand, the patriarch of the Robertson clan waxed offensive and myopic during a GQ interview about gays and “happy” blacks. The ensuing controversy got the show suspended and turned the Robertsons into heroes of the put-upon far-right. The backlash of the backlash ended the imposed hiatus.
The sins of the father shouldn’t be visited on the son, I know. But the son and the father have gotten mighty rich doing whatever it is they do for a national television audience. So, the son cannot escape the stench of the father. If anything, Robertson’s presence adds to the carnival-like atmosphere now enveloping what should be a sober occasion.
If you think I’m making a big deal over nothing ponder a hypothetical I posited last year when Nugent darkened the halls of the Capitol. Imagine the uproar if Rev. Jeremiah Wright were invited and attended the State of the Union. Or better yet, what if Kanye West had been invited to the big speech when George W. Bush was president? If you don’t think it would be appropriate for someone who said, “God damn America,” to be there or who said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” then Robertson and certainly Nugent have no business being there either.
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