December 20, 2013

Regarding the Dec. 20 front-page article “GOP hopefuls flock to embattled ‘Duck Dynasty’ star”:

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) needs a civics lesson. He is entitled to disagree with A&E’s suspension of “Duck Dynasty” performer Phil Robertson. However, by suggesting a shadow on the First Amendment, he exposed his ignorance and hypocrisy, or at the very least his cynical opportunism.

As Mr. Jindal should know, only a government can deprive a citizen of rights under the First Amendment. Mr. Robertson has not been arrested, imprisoned, fined, subjected to an IRS audit or threatened with any other legal remedy that a government might use to abridge his freedom of speech. Rather, he has simply been disciplined by his employer, who concluded that his outrageous remarks were damaging to its image.

I suspect that any business entity would take similar action if its brand were threatened in this manner, including a political campaign. It is said that Mr. Jindal aspires for national public office. If a member of his staff were to publicly make inflammatory comments during, say, the run-up to Super Tuesday in 2016, does anyone believe that Mr. Jindal would cite the First Amendment as a reason for allowing that staffer to remain in his post?

Paul Kerrigan, Vienna