Recently there was a giant hubbub at the podcasting company Gimlet over attempts to create a workplace union. I don’t want to go into all the details but this Vulture report does a pretty good job of summing up the various positions and the backlash involved in it.
Suffice it to say, one side lost and one side won. That’s how things go in this world of ours.
What I am more interested in is the fact that at Gimlet those on the losing side felt they had to leave the company. I want to make it clear this is not a situation where the losers were people in control of policy or direction for the company. The two biggest names to leave, PJ Voight and Shruti Panamanian, were worker bees who had made the decision to oppose the unionization effort. Why they did was their own business and no one else’s. But they felt compelled to leave the company they had helped build because they had been on the losing side of the issue. Whether they jumped or were pushed is of no matter. The point is they left.
They shouldn’t have. They shouldn’t have been put in the position of having to make that decision.
Look if every time one of us loses an argument and feels they have to leave, there would be a whole helluva lot more divorced people living at the Motel 6. When did having a different opinion on something from your nearest and dearest or even just your fellow employees become equated to vacating the premises? Unless it’s a rental agreement we shouldn’t be packing our bags and heading down the highway just because we lost one simple disagreement. The Dodgers, in my humble opinion, suck. There I said it. Some of you might agree with that sentiment. Some of you I know don’t. That doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with you. I’ve got news for you, friends have disagreements all the time as all my Dodger loving friends will tell you about me.
Same goes for the workplace. Yeah, here it gets a little trickier because you do have to negotiate various levels of business hierarchy but I shouldn’t feel I have to leave my job just because you wanted a union, I didn’t, but the union won out. In fact I would argue that it’s more important that I stick around to keep the union on it’s toes or to make sure it really is working in the best interests of myself and my fellow employees.
Last year the Opinion Editor of the New York Times, James Bennet, agreed to publish an essay written, as much as we can believe a politician can write a clear and declarative essay, by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas. In it he advocated for using the US military against BLM protesters in the wake of the George Floyd murder. I do not agree with that sentiment in the least. From what I can tell the New York Times and probably James Bennet himself do not agree with that sentiment. Nevertheless Bennet chose to publish it as an editorial about a matter of current affairs written by a serving member of the United States Senate. Some Times staff writers protested the essay should not have been run. Ultimately the uproar over that decision caused Bennet to lose his job. He shouldn’t have, just as the staff writers opposed to the publication shouldn’t have lost their jobs for speaking out, though none did. They made their feelings known, he obviously made his feelings known by running it in the first place and that should have been the end of that. Instead a well respected veteran of the newspaper industry had to be shown/head for the door because apparently unless we all speak as one we can not speak at all.
Which brings me to Liz Cheney.
Liz Cheney is about to lose her leadership position in the Repugnicant Party because she refuses to believe The Big Lie that Trump won the 2020 election. Now from what I read most Repugnicants in Congress privately believe Biden won the election fair and square but Cheney is one of the few to openly say so. Horrors, she’s a witch, we must burn her! This is insane, almost as insane as every Repugnicant voting against the Biden American Rescue Plan then touting how much it will do for their constituents. And while it might be insane it’s nothing new on the block. She just joins James Bennet and Shruti Panamanian and dozens of other people who have been told to get lost because you don’t believe exactly what we believe.
Democrats don’t think you get off George C. Scott free in this matter either. How many Bernie Bros sat out the 2016 or 2020 elections because he didn’t get the nomination? Remember Jimmy Carter? It’s taken 40+ years for you to even mention his name again after being swamped by Reagan in 1980.
When did we become a country of absolutists? When did we start allowing differences in opinion to become Matterhorn height mountains we can never cross? When did we become so uncivil?
It started earlier but it supersized in 2015 when a piece of orange flubber masquerading as a human being came down a golden escalator.
There was a time, not so long ago as I was a sentient human living on the planet, when Republicans and Democrats regularly got together and, for the betterment of the country, worked out programs and laws. There were politicians who were Liberal Republicans (Jake Javits, Nelson Rockefeller) as well as Conservative Democrats (pretty much any southern member of the party). But everything has become so strident these days. Compromise is considered a mortal sin. Vote the wrong way one time and you’re suspicious. Do it a second time and you’re out. Oppose the union at work or run an editorial the staff disagrees with and you’re gone.
The most productive and successful companies are those where there is a constant thrum of ideas colliding with one another. That collision can’t occur if there are no opposite sides. And there are no opposite sides if those on the “wrong” side are made to feel they can’t contribute and have to leave. There was a guy once who was very high up in a company. His ideas had brought the company fame and fortune. But the company got tired of him constantly being at odds with the corporate think and he eventually left. The company promptly went into a tailspin. On the verge of total bankruptcy the company brought him back, opposing ideas and all. The company flourished.
Steve Jobs and his iconoclastic ideas turned Apple into the most profitable company in the world. Gimlet, the New York Times, and the United States Congress should take a lesson from that. That lesson is:
They got a name for the winners in the world, I want a name when I lose.