Things That Make Me Pause
I like to think of myself as a social moderate and a bit of a fiscal conservative. I am a big believer in personal responsibility and accountability, employee engagement (because it is far superior to the alternative), and treating everybody with respect.
Over the last 30 plus years I have been a human resources professional, c level executive, and management consultant. During that journey I have learned some truths
- The most critical elements for the foundation of any relationship, personal or professional are trust and respect.
- Everyone is entitled to respect for their personhood if nothing else.
- Relationships are the most important systemic dimension in every organization.
- People who share your values and are congruent with them will perform at a much higher level than those who are neutral or don’t share them.
- I am entitled to my values and beliefs; however I am not entitled to inflict or enforce them on others.
I spent much of the formative part of my life in Arizona. In fact unlike many of the residents I was actually born there.
I left AZ for almost thirty years before returning for just over three years recently. I had always loved the pioneering spirit of the state and many of things it had to offer, but I have to say that there are things I don’t recognize or certainly don’t align with.
As anyone who gets the news is aware a bill passed both houses of the state legislature that would allow business owners to decline to do business with an individual or organization because of their religious beliefs. I think on its face that seems innocuous, but we aren’t just talking about choosing not to do business with a company, but literally refusing service to people.
There is discussion that this is primarily focused on people with alternative lifestyles as Federal law specifically excludes discrimination against individuals based on gender, nationality, age, and several other characteristics. I think we forget that at one time in the not so distant past it was in fact legal to discriminate against people for these views. I happen to see that as a darker part of our history.
Certain religious fundamentalist located outside the U.S. would be very supportive of this position I am sure. They actually do actively discriminate against people based on the protected classes I mentioned above. I don’t see them as company I would like to be associated with.
I have seen a lot on the blogosphere saying that allowing this kind of distinction isn’t that different than business owners choosing to prohibit gun owners from bringing their weapons into their place of business even though AZ has an open carry law.
I personally find that comparison absurd. Carrying a weapon is bringing an appendage and exclusion can be based on safety and other considerations. I find it difficult to say that there are any safety considerations in preventing people from entering a business while under the influence of their religion, ethnicity, etc.
I want to be clear I am not anti- gun. I don’t personally feel the need to carry one on my person on a regular basis, but if one is inclined to and has the appropriate training and mindset so be it. I don’t believe minors should be able to carry weapons; concealed or otherwise into schools and I believe that there are venues where unless you are in law enforcement or the military you don’t need to be armed.
I don’t know why some of the members of my former state are so angry. Before this latest round of exclusion there was a lot of controversy around illegal aliens, primarily of Hispanic origin. In fact one of the most prominent law enforcement officials in the state has made protecting citizens from illegal aliens one of the cornerstones of his policy.
I am glad to see that elected officials like John McCain, Jeff Flake, and even the Governor appear to be in alignment that this is a bad law.
I think you should have the right to your views and beliefs. I think you should be able to choose to a point that you do business with unless you are serving the public.
I also don’t fully understand how proponents of this law are going to determine how someone violates their beliefs.
- Is it how they look? Be careful because you may be violating Federal laws.
- Is it how they dress? Same issue.
- Is it their language or manner of speech, or what they talk about?
I just get disappointed when I feel that we have made some progress towards Dr. King’s dream and we are seeing social attitudes become more tolerant and accepting of people whose views we don’t all share and we seem to slide back.
I also think that you can be judged by the company you keep and I wouldn’t like to see too many close parallels with the views of others who we are still engaged in armed conflict with or appear frequently on the despot list.
I can’t in honesty tell you I will boycott AZ if this bill passes, but it will give me pause about considering relocating there at any point in the future.
I guess I will remain consistent with my current prejudice, I am prejudiced against assholes.
In my experience they don’t limit themselves to any ethnic or racial group, gender, sexual orientation, or age. You aren’t born one you become one and it is a cognizant choice…
What do you think…?