Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Free Speech, Anyone???

So apparently you can get fired from your transit job for expressing your views. Just ask the mystery Koran burner Derek Fenton.

Now, while I don't agree with burning anyone's religious text (along with peeing on it, puking on it or otherwise disrespecting it) & think the people burning the Koran b/c of this debate are assholes that doesn't mean the NJ Transit department has a right to fire this guy b/c they disagree with his views.

A public statement saying you don't condone this man's actions or that he wasn't representing your company when he did it is fine. But situations like this are why we have a 1st Amendment. Firing someone for this is the same as firing someone for refusing to sign a loyalty oath or being in a Nazi organization. Plus, this isn't a federal employee or someone working in a political office where impartiality is needed. He's coordinating passenger trains, for God's sake!

Unless this man did something discriminatory to Muslims at work, these people don't have a leg to stand on in my mind. There's no law that says you must love ALL your customers & co-workers; could you imagine how life would be if there were, especially if you're a server, retail employee at Wal-Mart or work at some other place where the lowest of the low come out in full force?

Let's think about this being a global trend (and in many ways, it is already), especially in light of the anemic economy. Is freedom of speech in America now reserved solely for the rich? Should you be denied that right because you don't have the money to work for yourself or own a major media outlet? I sure as hell hope not.

I'm sure this man did think twice when it meant his family will probably now go hungry. Does anyone who actually has a conscience and a sense of right and wrong really think that this is acceptable? That is, if you aren't some greedy fat cat or if you have managed to become rich and lose your soul in the process.

What if someone was getting fired for not voting for the company CEO's favored political candidate or not being a Christian with 2.3 kids? This type of firing leads to situations like that. In legal land, we call this "the slippery slope argument". I'm interested to see if this guy files a lawsuit & what a judge will say. The judge will have to consider the slippery slope issue in making a decision & it could have a drastically chilling impact on free speech for the average person.

See why I don't like the whole using social networking to spy on people who work for you or want to work for you. I also don't like that Yahoo is announcing uses of social networks to people right here.

Must we be subjected to some anemic profile or total dishonesty in these things? If we're going all Big Brother on that, why waste time having profiles to begin with? You writers at Yahoo are also making it harder for investigators to do their jobs; don't encourage common sense!!

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