I don’t get political. I just don’t. Perhaps it’s the negotiator personality I’ve been blessed with. The “can’t we just all get along” attitude. But when it comes to people and their political views, I’d be pretty opposite to the woman I’m about to defend, so please know that this post has nothing to do with the Lady’s political affiliation. I don’t know what her religious beliefs are. So this is not me racing to the defense of someone my same religion. This is about doing the right thing. The whole “do unto others as you would have done to you,” Golden Rule, general life lessons thing.
I don’t remember the first time I saw Paula Deen on tv. But there was something about her that instantly drew me to her. Maybe it was her smile, or her bright, happy eyes. But I know for sure that one thing was her willingness to allow me in her kitchen, next to her, side by side to learn while I watched her on my tv, as if she was teaching ME. Just ME. Because she makes real food. Recipes I actually try in my own kitchen. Real, good, Southern food with lots of butter and lots of love. Because really, that’s what it’s all about – cooking up love for your family. That’s why I love to cook so much. It’s not so much about the end product, but about how that labor of love makes my family feel at the end of a long, hard day.
Remember – everything I say here is my own opinion. I don’t know anyone at Food Network (Man, I wish I did!), but this is my opinion about the whole situation. While the world has put Paula on a pedestal, she’s a woman. She’s human. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. And because she was honest about something that happened 20 YEARS AGO, YA’LL, she has lost her contract with Food Network. Will this kill her financially? No. I’m sure not. But will it kill her spirit? I’m sure it already has. To be a beloved face of a network for years and then have them TURN THEIR BACKS ON YOU because of a mistake you honestly admitted to 20 years previous? I don’t think that’s right. In any form. Every single person living in the world today has done or said something in their lifetime that they regret. Noone is perfect. And yet, this network dumped her. And then Smithfield decided to follow suite and drop her as their spokesperson. These companies that she has represented so gracefully all these years. Are they suggesting she should have LIED UNDER OATH and not admitted to saying the “N” word 20 years ago?
20 years ago I was 9 years old. And I can guaran-darn-tee you that I did and said things I shouldn’t have. I recall having to get my butt swatted, having to miss recess a few times, and I know I had times where I opened my mouth and said mean things to people about their appearance. You might say that’s all irrelevant because I was so young. That was 20 years ago. “You’ve changed, you’ve matured, you’ve grown up.” Hello. Proves my point perfectly. Every single person who has been ALIVE 20+ years has grown and changed and matured in that time. And they will grow and change and mature even more in their next 20 years. Life is about learning from your past mistakes. Anyone who is worthy is totally given permission to throw the first stone at me for my actions 20 years ago. But you see, God gives us grace, and since He’s the only one worthy, I’m free to go about my life and live it free of worry about being stoned today. Apparently Paula isn’t so lucky. Because apparently every single other person that works for, in, around, and represents Food Network AND Smithfield are perfect, and were born that way. Which is pretty impressive, really.
I’m nobody. I’m just the mom of a one-year-old who likes to write about life and what God is teaching me through my Bible studies. But I hope that maybe, just maybe someone at either the Network or Smithfield will end up reading this blog post that will be convicted of their actions. I’m not a boycott-er. I won’t be quitting watching the Network (in ALL my spare time that I have to watch tv! HA!!! AS IF!!!), and I’ve honestly never bought a Smithfield product, but given the opportunity, I wouldn’t shun them. Because, you see, this is a perfect example of the fact that we all make human mistakes. We let our fears tell us what we should and shouldn’t do instead of stepping back and thinking about what is the right thing. I’ll leave you with one last thought – of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. When Cole’s stood behind their Santa Claus because they knew it was the right thing to do. If only Food Network had been so brave.