Reflections: In D.C., today is being treated like a Friday, as it is assumed that everyone is taking off tomorrow for an extended 4-day weekend. It is irrelevant to ProEthics since we don’t take vacations, and ethics never sleeps, but impactful to Ethics Alarms, which means that I will be blogging for a handful of stalwarts—thank you all—and otherwise talking to myself.
This has me already thinking about Memorial Day, which in turn causes me to think about my father, who will be spending the holiday, now and forever, with my mother at Arlington National Cemetery. Being a World War II veteran was second only to being a father and husband in my father’s view of his life’s priorities. In his final years, he often drove down to the Mall and the World War II Memorial, wearing his vest with his medals, and served as kind of a volunteer exhibit himself, a real, live Word War II veteran for visitors, especially students and your tourist, to take photos with and interview. Many of his encounters that began with, “Excuse me, are you a real soldier from the war?” ended with him being hugged and even getting gifts. Now I regret I never accompanied him in some of those weekly excursions into old memories and personal pride. I only found out about them after his death in 2009.
A about a week after my dad died, I was at my parent’s condo with my mother. A knock on the door brought another resident of Fairlington South ( an Arlington, VA development converted from Army barracks during World War II) into the room. He was an active Vietnam vet, about my age, who had engaged my father to speak to his veterans’ group a few times, and who obviously admired Dad a great deal. He entered cheerily and asked, “Where’s Jack?” When I told him that Dad had died, the expression on his face melted into abject shock and grief so quickly and vividly that the image haunts me to this day.
I don’t think I fully appreciated how much my father was respected and loved by even casual acquaintances who knew about his service and character until that moment.
1. Theory: If you can’t win under the rules, change the rules. Nevada has joined the states attempting to by-pass the Constitution with the scheme of directing its electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote regardless of which candidate the state’s residents favored. I think that means 15 states, all with Democratric Party-dominated legislatures, are trying this stunt so far in frustration over Al Gore and Hillary Clinton joining Andrew Jackson, Samuel Tilden and Grover Cleveland on the list of Presidential candidates defeated by the Electoral College.
This is grandstanding: the device is unconstitutional on its face, and sinister mischief: the idea is to pander to civic ignorance (“Of course the popular vote winner should become President!” is an easy call if you don’t know anything about history or why the Electoral College was installed) and almost guarantees a Constitutional crisis and maybe violence in the streets the next time a Democrat loses despite a popular vote edge.
2. Of course, it increasing appears that Democrats advocate violence, at least against anyone who dares to disagree with them.
Bill Press, a past host of “Crossfire” political show who is now a radio host, columnist, and the personification of the most repulsive attitudes of the Left, revealed in his radio show/podcast that he approved of the “milkshaking” of Great Britain’s conservative Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit movement, “loves” the idea, and “hopes it comes to this country.” He then suggested that Attorney General Barr should have a milkshake thrown at him.
Be proud, progressives.
Ethics tip: Funny violence is still violence.
It’s really becoming hard not to hate these people, but then, as Richard Nixon said in probably his greatest quote, whether he believed it or not,
“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”
3. Speaking of Great Britain: Today is election day, and the BBC states on its website that “there will be no coverage of the election campaign on polling day, from 00.30 until polls close at 22.00 on TV, radio or bbc.co.uk.” That means that any election-related event today that might influence voters will be withheld from them. This is pure government censorship. That the Brits accept this like the Eloi marched off to be eaten in “The Time Machine” is profoundly depressing.
Wait, I forgot: WE’RE the ones ruled by a fascist….
4. Poll update: On the question of which of the five stupid stories in yesterday’s “ethics respite” was the most idiotic, the overwhelming leader, with 36% of the vote is “They are all unbelievably stupid, and I don’t want to live any more.”
Great, now Ethics Alarms is becoming a death cult.
5. Hugging ethics. On yesterday’s really excellent Open Forum (if you haven’t read the comments, especially the threads on female accusations of harassment and the second Amendment), JP had this query:
I’m not sure how to handle this situation. As a minster, may people in the church come up to hug me (mostly older). I don’t really like it. It is extremely uncomfortable for me. Some of these people are the leadership of the church. After following this blog, I had decided I was finally going to start saying something about it. Then one of my colleagues got super sick (he died today). His wife, who I have never hugged before (always got the impression she never liked me) hugged me while I was visiting in them in hospice and started crying. She was obviously looking for comfort.
So two thoughts. Christians often treat other Christians as family. We talk about how we are family. I teach about it quite often, which is why I have never said anything about it before. This isn’t a business relationship, my job is intended to be personal. Is it unethical for me to not hug them? And if its not, is it unethical for me to hug (or not hug them) in situations like the one given while saying I don’t want to be hugged (coming off a hypocrite)?
Coincidentally, the question of unwanted hugs was a major topic at yesterday’s sexual harassment training, as female members of the staff are often ambushed by male members who think they have a right to greet them with a hug and often a kiss. No, I said, it is not your job to consent to physical contact. The hug is often a power move, and undermines a professional woman’s status. I recommend the quick-draw handshake if you sense an unwanted hug is coming, and if you aren’t fast enough, gently push the hugger away, with a nice but firm, “No hugging, please. I don’t appreciate it.” it is also important, in a professional setting, to not accept hugs from anyone, even if a particular hug would be welcome.
It is different if someone needs a hug, and you can provide genuine comfort in a crisis. For a minister, providing that comfort is a professional duty, and for anyone else, its an ethical duty. However, there is nothing in a minister’s duties or job description that requires him to acceded to unwanted physical contact. If a minister is made uncomfortable by routine hugs, he or she ought to follow the same procedures as non-ministers.
6. What the heck is going on in Boston? OtherBill pointed me to this head-buster from the Boston Globe. (MFA in Bostonese is its esteemed Museum of Fine Arts on the Fens):
MFA apologizes after students from Dorchester school subjected to racism during field trip
In a letter posted to the museum’s website, top MFA officials apologized to the students and staff at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy for “a range of challenging and unacceptable experiences that made them feel unwelcome. That is not who we are or want to be. Our intention is to set the highest of standards, and we are committed to doing the work that it will take to get there.”
School principal Arturo J. Forrest said he heard reports of one museum staff member telling students “no food, no drink, and no watermelon” and of museum security singling out some students while leaving white students alone. Additionally, one museum patron reportedly made a comment to a female student about paying attention in the MFA so she could avoid a career as a stripper, while another patron referred to a group of students as “(expletive) black kids.”
That’s a mighty perfunctory apology for outrageous conduct from museum staff. Such incidents aren’t a “bad apples” problem, they are unmistakable signs of rotten culture and incompetent management. The letter should have said,
‘The Museum of Fine Arts is embarrassed and ashamed at the conduct of our employees. Such hostility, incivility and disrespect is intolerable here, and anywhere. There is no excuse for how our guests from Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy were treated, and the Museum will be shutting down until we can be confident that such incidents will not and cannot occur again. Doing so will require a thorough investigation into our staff training, hiring, supervision and management.
We apologize to the students who were so mistreated, our patrons, the artists whose works this conduct diminishes, and the city of Boston.’