Iowa State student Kaleb Vanfosson accepted the job of introducing Bernie Sanders at a pro-Hillary rally last week. Instead of doing what he agreed to do, he used his moment at the microphone to rant about how awful Clinton was, saying in part before he was escorted off the stage (above) by a guy that looked like the principal in “Back To The Future”…
“The only thing she cares about is pleasing her delegates, the billionaires. The only people that really trust Hillary are Goldman Sachs, Citigroup can trust Hillary, the military-industrial complex can trust Hillary.”
There has been a lot of this kind of unethical conduct lately, notably from performers hired to sing the National Anthem who then do a Colin Kaepernick impression instead. What are they teaching in Iowa? It is never ethical to make a commitment to perform one task and not perform it as agreed. It is even worse to do the opposite of what was agreed, and to embarrass and undermine the objective of the enterprise.
Just because something is styled as a protest doesn’t make it fair, responsible or right. Vanfosson was grandstanding, and he was cheating. Sanders takes questions, and in a Q and A session was the time and place to make his points. He used misrepresentation to do it from center stage.
The interesting ethics question is whether the student’s conduct gets a pass because his victim, Bernie Sanders, embraces such guerilla protest tactics, or did when he was that age. The answer is no. The ethical approach would have been to ask Bernie himself if he would accept an anti-Clinton rant as his introduction. Vanfosson didn’t, perhaps because he knew what the answer would be.