‘Can We Drop a Dog Walker for Her Political Opinions?’ asks a letter-writer to this week’s edition of the New York Times’s ethicist column. The writer laments that they have hired a ‘reliable, responsible, and kind’ person to walk the family dog. The problem? Beneath the visage of humanity, the dog walker is actually a monstrous Trump voter.
Rather than stop and ponder the implications of a Trump voter being, in fact, a rather decent human being, the writer gets right to the meat of the matter: Should they fire the dog walker immediately?
Kwame Anthony Appiah, the NYT’s ethicist, was relatively measured in his response.
‘A manager who penalizes a regular employee for her political views is exercising workplace tyranny,’ Kwame writes. ‘Stability of employment and freedom of political opinion are both important interests and should be protected from abuse not just by the government but also by private employers.’
So, a point to the New York Times: at least one person working there believes that 70 million Trump voters should be allowed to hold a job. But the paper’s readers are another matter. Here are the reader pick comments, in order, as of the time Cockburn is writing:
‘If you have an opportunity to cut ties with a pro-trumper “big lie” supporter, do it. No explanations are required. When you see trumperism up close and personal, it’s not simply an abstract political view; it’s racism and hatred legitimized by a derailed political party.’
‘We deliberated long and hard about whether or not to keep using our arborist because of his extremely right-wing political views. He is an excellent arborist. We never checked his social media to check on his beliefs…however, his work truck is covered in multiple, ostentatious bumper stickers advertising his views to the world and to his clients. We decided that because he insisted on making his extremism part of his public professional identity…he himself had made his beliefs an issue. We felt justified in quietly dropping him.’
‘My dog is my buddy. If I were to hire a dog walker, I’d want her in the hands of someone who thinks rationally.’
‘I have made it a point not to patronize businesses or hire services that are rabid right wingers. I don’t go out of my way to ask people’s political opinion but if in the course of normal due diligence (looking at social media of a potential dog watcher is prudent) I find such views I would pass. I have decided that anyone following conspiracy theories is not smart enough and exhibits too poor judgment to be trusted with my pets or money or even lawn for that matter.’
‘Regarding whether or not to drop the MAGA dogwalker, I employed a person to help around the house once when I needed it. She was friendly and a hard worker, but I was appalled when I heard her cheerfully saying she regularly sent money to Trump during his campaigning, because my money was inadvertently supporting him.’
‘She works for you and if there is something you don’t like, short of a protected class reason like race or religion, she serves at your pleasure. Even if seeing her MAGAness irritates you, that is enough. And you don’t owe her an explanation.’
‘I must disagree with your advice to E.K. regarding continuing employment of the “dog walker”… You are right, paying her does not ensure anything with regard to her vote. What giving her money does ensure, is that she will have just a little bit more cash with which to financially support those who would do political, emotional, and perhaps even actual harm to E.K. and her/his husband.’
And so on, practically ad infinitum. Cockburn knows better by now than to read too much into online commenters — that way madness lies.
But those comments are extraordinarily revealing of the progressive elite’s mindset. Stalwart believers in a dizzying array of anti-discrimination laws swiftly become arch-libertarians when politics are at stake. The former protesters against the PATRIOT Act now see it as wholly reasonable to read the social-media page of prospective workers. The class that gave us ‘ban the box’ to help more felons get jobs now regards those who vote against them as morally far worse and unworthy of employment at all — even if those people are really good at walking their dogs and manicuring their trees. Welcome to America.