Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Progressive Habit of Firing People For Rumors About Their Opinions

American liberty includes to right to speak in lawful and legitimate ways without fear that months or years later someone with public authority or an agent of government is going to unpredictably take issue and retroactively decide to punish us for whatever opinion or words we said.

Whether it is Carrie Prejean or Octavia Nasr, Franklin Graham, or Shirley Sherrod, the regressive habit Progressives have of firing people because of their political beliefs and religious expression and honest personal speech is unconscionable. It's mostly Democrats acting this way but we also see it in both parties from those who call themselves (and behave as) whatever new "brand identity" is clever this month.

It's one thing for "the boss" at a privately owned company to get mad and fire someone.

It's quite another for a manager or a company - or a government representative no matter what "House" he sits in - to even make any kind of judgment about someone, much less to fire them because of plain old ugly gossip about them, or because they, or a person or group, that has no right of authority or supervision over the employee, hates the opinions the employee expressed in a perfectly legal way.

That's not decent. That's not civility. That's not rational.

That is the action of an Autocrat. That is bullying at its ugly worst.

If it is "the American thing to do" to let accused lawbreakers maintain power and use campaign money to defend themselves while they get the privilege of "special investigations", how foreign and outrageous is it for members of our government or its agencies to sacrifice the Constitution to their own temporary PR wants? Changing the rules after the fact is wrong on every single level.

American history, law and culture support and respect nothing less than equal treatment, freedom of conscience and freedom of expression for all.

I don't know what this new system of facade management is called but American it is not.

At what point does imperiously taking someone's job - their "means of subsistence" - away because of something they said months or years ago, when the opinion may even have been shared by a majority and the unchallenged norm of the day, or even yesterday, become an onerous freezing pressure against their - and all of our - constitutional rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

As we practice sensible mercy and rational decision making every day, we must also require it of all those we elect or appoint to stand as placeholders for us in the councils and legislatures of our land.

There are lots of good reasons for firing people, and lots of times that a public company or our government may need to let people go without fault or for no reason.

But government agencies and public companies need to find rational, American ways to respond to public relations issues. Firing a person who's done nothing but legitimately speak their opinion isn't one of those ways and that needs to stop.


Photos from the Library of Congress, public domain. Top: April, 1942, Chicago, Ida B. Wells housing Project. Mr Daniel Bonaparte, Director of Recreation Activities, speaks at a meeting of the tenants. Photo by Jack Delano. Bottom: July, 1942 Detroit. Sailor Speaks to the audience at a Salvage Committee meeting. Photo by Arthur S. Siegel

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