Yesterday I was dropping my lunch into the company refrigerator and walked past a TV playing Fox News and as usual, I was offended. There was a panel discussion of three presumed straight White folks discussing the unfair treatment of the former CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich and his forced resignation due, in their perception, to the support of Prop. 8, a referendum put the the “Liberal” people of California which restricted the definition of Marriage to One Man – One Woman.
50 years ago in the United States, it was completely OK to say publicly that you didn’t want to swim in public pools with Niggers. You could post signs. You could protest and say loudly and proudly that you didn’t want your children to have to go to school with Niggers. In Virginia, marrying a Nigger if you were White was illegal.
Now people recoil in shock and horror if people use “The N-Word.” We have freedom of Speech in the country but there are some things you just don’t say, or do.
Lately in this Country, we have had a rash of CEOs opening their mouths in the name of Free Speech, and opening their wallets to support those actions. Hobby Lobby has taken their Free Speech all the way to the Supreme Court in their quest not to pay for Women’s Contraception because it violates their religious beliefs. Can a Corporation have a mandated religious belief when its not in the Religion business? Can it force its beliefs on its employees?
The CEO of Chick-Fil-A also opened his mouth and gave an opinion on Gay Marriage last year. He has the right to do so, and the GLBT had the right not to eat his sandwiches. This year, the CEO indicated that his statements damaged his company and will keep his speech to a minimum.
The CEO of Barilla also weighed in on Gay marriage and watched sales of his product drop accordingly.
The point I’m trying to make is this:
Freedom of Speech does not guarantee you Freedom from responsibility for your actions. CEOs are representative of the companies they run, and when they speak, their opinions are assumed to be representative of the companies they run. People complain this will have a chilling effect on CEOs giving points of view and giving donations.
Good. If more CEOs would get back to the business of running their companies and spend less time in the public eye weighing in on whether or not people they don’t personally know can have access to the same rights and privileges as everyone else, maybe we could get out of this stagnant economy and get a few more people back to work?
Maybe CEOs should concentrate on growing their companies and leave the political speeches to the politicians?
Maybe people will begin to realize that withholding rights based on one’s reading of a book not everyone follows as law is about as bad as saying “Niggers don’t have the right to marry, oh, and here’s a donation to your organization that’s sole purpose is to keep Niggers from marrying.”
And maybe someday, not just CEOs, but everyone will flinch when someone says that about Gay people.