Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gay Activists Try to Defend Cisco

Normally I wouldn’t comment on a situation like this, (because it is far too easy for someone to come along and accuse me of homophobia, even though I love all people, and there is nothing about gay people that scares me in the least), but because it involves someone I know personally, I’m going to make a point on behalf of a friend.  This post is my reaction and comments to the contents of Mike Adam's latest article in commenting on the Cisco firing of Frank Turek, titled "A Queer and Present Danger."  It is in particular to the argument made by gay supporters that Cisco made no unconstitutional moves against Turek that I respond.

I happen to agree that First Amendment rights exist to protect American citizens from unjust treatment by the goverment.  I also agree that a company has the prerogative to fire any employees or consultants for any reason, except for legal limitations.  Those limitations exist to protect employees from superflous and ujnust firings and include reasons such as race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and yes, viewpoint discrimination.  I agree that Cisco has the prerogative, but I do believe they flubbed it on the viewpoint discrimination. 

As far as Cisco is concerned, nothing Frank Turek ever said or did for which he was fired was ever a part of his dealings with the company. Anything the culpable manager found disagreeable was entirely within the realm of Turek’s private life. And what do we know about what people do in their private lives? That it is viewpoint discrimination if a company takes action for something that does not concern it. Cisco fired Turek for something he did in his private life.

So, gay supporters have been especially shrill as a result in trying to expand an acceptable limit to the First Amendment to justify Turek’s firing, saying that a private citizen is not constitutionally protected from the consequences of having a politically incorrect point of view to the point of forced unemployment. But let’s turn the tables and see if this argument works the other way: would it only be “consequences” if a gay rights activist were fired from his job because the manager didn’t like his views, views that never intersected with his job? The use of the word “consequences” is rather backhanded, as getting fired on account of viewpoint discrimination is no more a "consequence" than it was for blacks to get lynched as a “consequence” of the passage of the 13th Amendment. The manager who sought Turek’s firing did nothing out of said “consequence.” If not he, then Cisco, should have the balls to admit that this was an act of aggression on an indivdual’s private life, not a consequence of anything Turek said or did on behalf of the company.

While we’re talking about consequences, let’s imagine what the consequences of Turek’s experience can bring to Cisco. This would be a great capitalistic opportunity for a competing company to clarify that any similar brouhaha would be stridently avoided and actively woo Cisco’s current clients over to them. Cisco’s clients could also take the time to reevaluate if Cisco’s heavy-handed and unfair firing practices are something they want to associate with. And finally, Cisco managers can all be publicly branded as the invasive, intolerant bigots they have been so far. If Cisco thinks I am being unfair and wants to redeem itself even a little, then the execs can display some public some good faith in showing the offending manager the same courtesy that he showed to Frank.

Read the background story of Frank Turek's firing from Cisco in Mike Adam's articles for
The Cisco Kid (a reprint of Turek's letter to Cisco's CEO concerning his firing)
Cisco Sinks to a Dishonorable New Low
Holier than Mao

You can also listen to Frank himself talk about his experience on a radio broadcast with Crane Durham: