Apr 12, 2009

I have violated my own personal policy (and I feel so dirty, so ashamed).

Personal Policy #1: Do not talk politics at work.

There are a number of reasons for this rule being in effect. Workplace laws make many subjects “taboo.” Can we talk about sexual preference in the workplace? Can we talk about religion? The mere mention of these subjects can slap a person in the face with Hostile Work Environment issue. And, according to law, if an employee makes a claim of a hostile work environment, the employer is forced to act.

There are some subjects, however, that are not specifically mentioned. But these same, “grey area” subjects can cause some of the most heated debates and cause more tension than perhaps even some the listed “taboo” subjects. Case in point: Politics.

Here is the situation as it went down. About a month ago I sent an email to the President of the United States. As of yet, I have not received any response. The problem here is I announced this fact in a conversation I was having with others here at work. As I have stated in previous posts, I work in an extremely conservative environment. So, this announcement, made by me in what I would call an egregious violation of Personal Policy #1, prompted my co-worker (who was sitting next to me), to say, “You probably voted for him, too.” And, again in violation of Personal Policy #1, I answered in the affirmative.

This opened a rather large can of worms. I quickly attempted to change the subject, realizing my error, when my co-worker made numerous other statements as to how he was seeing me differently, and how this would change our relationship. And then he said the following, “You probably don’t think much of our armed forces, do you.”

What the #%*&!?!?!?

He tried to call this a question. It was not. It was a statement of fact (as he saw it); the tone, the attitude, coming from a former Marine.

My response to this asinine statement was, “That’s a pretty asinine statement.”

I don’t really lose my cool at work that often. In fact, I think my patience is one of my stronger points. But I did lose it a little. I made it abundantly clear that he doesn’t know me, and so he has no business deciding where my beliefs and convictions lie (as far as politics go, anyway). He attempted to back pedal a little, trying to say it was a question. But I would not back down. This was a statement of fact based off of very little information in the first place.

Again, nothing but an asinine statement.

So it begs the question (or maybe a whole slew of questions, or at least a bit of a diatribe on my part), why in the #311 can’t people simply respect the opinions of others. Do we have to enact laws that will make it taboo to talk about politics too? Perhaps we should address the issue of the chicken and the egg. I am sure there are plenty of people out there who have their own opinion on this subject. I have mine, but I’m going to keep it to myself. After all, there may be someone here who feels differently than I do.

Ok, that may be a bit of an extreme, but does it make a point? Over the last 10 years, or so, I have changed my views on many things in life. I’m happy with my own personal convictions, and I don’t plan to change them. I also recognize that I am in the minority here at work, and as such I must be more cautious in the conversations I find myself getting into.

As for those people who disagree with me? Well, I say only this: We can agree to disagree, and generally speaking we can leave it at that.


  1. Well said Adam. I think it is fine to disagree with others, it's when they step all over your feelings and beliefs to drive theirs further home that crosses boundaries. Let's just respect each other for all that we share in common and all that we don't as well. That's the glory of free agency and the American way of life, we are free to choose, and no one has the right to deny us that.

    I don't know where the comment came from about the military, how does one voting for Obama equate to lack of military support. That guy needs to get his head out of the sand!

  2. The other day a guy I have known for 20+ years came by to drop off some brownies for a funeral. This friend of mine thinks all the liberals in CA are going to cause God to drop the whole state into the ocean. As he handed me the brownies the state of Illinois came up and then Pres. Obama. He said something like, "can you believe that guy?" I said I was pretty happy with him. He said "you are pulling my leg. He is a real piece of work." The conversation went down hill fast. Sometimes it is risky to discus politics on your own porch. But I had to let him know that I didn't agree with him.

  3. I bet I can guess who this was. Indeed, an asinine comments, but not completely shocking in this regard. We will save our politic comments for when we are sitting around in your garage conversing. Some people in our workplace are just absurd with their comments. It is okay to have a different view, but to ridicule yours and make such a ridiculous leap to that comment is just too much. Just consider the source.

  4. I have a really good friend who is not a Obama fan at all and because of this I torment her with things about him all the time. Sometimes it get's tricky and sometimes i really have to keep my mouth shut on some of the things she says. It is a tough situation to talk politicts to friends and even family. Most of the time I just keep my mouth shut, it does not matter what you say, if they don't like the person they will come up with everysingle thing they can to make him look bad.
    That being said, im glad you said something, you have to stand up for your self at some point and put your foot down when people are just being stupid!!

  5. Yeah, politics in the workplace can be tricky. In order to find people who are sympatico with you, you have to put your beiefs out there. But, in doing so, you also discover when people aren't, and suddenly things are, well, different. Sometimes it can be good - I know in the Bay Area we live in a liberal bubble, and I find it interesting to hear what others believe and why. But, too quickly it can all go sour. Good job on being straight forward and correcting your co-worker. Me, I tend to get a bit too sarcastic and/or condescending which does nothing to help the situation.

  6. Recently I saw an author who stated that when we don't agree on something we need to do either of two things. We need to stay at the subject or problem until we work it out or we need to just "let it go." Now here comes the rub...we often can't or are not willing to work it out and we also can't just let it go. Too bad...cause then we're stuck in a situation where tensions are high and feelings are hurt. I agree with the saying, "Let's just agree to disagree." Then we need to let it go.


You went to all the trouble to get yourself here, you might as well say something about it.

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