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Archive for March, 2018

stop_corruption_clipartEmployees and contractors in the White House are public servants. Their sole duty of loyalty is the the United States, not to the person currently serving as President, who himself is a public servant. While House NDAs may be permissible to protect the United States, but it is probably illegal, and certainly unethical, for NDAs to protect anyone else or to be controlled by anyone else.

Any non-disclosure agreement, to be consistent with public service, must meet the following tests:

  • It must be between the employee and the United States, not the President personally, or any other entity,
  • The authority to release the employee from such obligations must be vested exclusively in the United States government, not the President personally (e.g. after his term of office expires), or any other entity, and
  • The agreement may not punish or prohibit disclosure of unethical, criminal or corrupt acts.

The President is not a CEO or king. He is a public servant. He may protect the interests of the United States through non-disclosure agreements, but he may not protect his own interests. To do so is a diversion of the wealth of the United States to private interests, or simply put, public corruption and theft.

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Recently several major corporations took a stand against the NRA by severing various ties such as group discounts and co-branding.  On the surface, such moves may be seen as doing a good thing, and may even be good for business.  However there’s a dark side.

A core value of the American way is that politics takes its expression in speech and debate, at the ballot box, and – this is the crucial point – nowhere elseWe accept each other, at work, at play, and do business together, even when we differ.  The coffee shop serves all.  The phone company serves everyone.  We meet as equals at the schoolhouse door, at the courthouse steps, in the bars and restaurants, and in the halls of commerce.

We have our political views, religious affiliations, races, tribal histories, cultural groupings, but we are not these things alone.  In the vast majority of our daily interactions, we disregard those things, and relate to each other as fellow Americans.

There’s genius in that.  There’s stability in that.  There’s a precious social contract we should nourish, and take care not to shred.  Once that contract is torn, it may be impossible to repair.

How toxic a world it would be if Big-D Airlines sold tickets at different discounts to Democrats versus Republicans, if FredEx shipped packages only for Baptists, if bakers only baked cakes for Unitarians, or if a state offered tax breaks exclusively to businesses adopting certain politics.

So what’s a corporation to do?  Stay out of divisive politics entirely.  Stay away from demagogues of all stripes.  The way to distance from the NRA is to distance from all political interest groups, and serve all people uniformly.

Gun control may be laudable, but tribalism and shredding the social fabric is not.

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