Commenter Steve Witherspoon has colorfully expressed the Ethics Alarms position regarding President Trump’s “punching down” with his direct attack on Goodyear Tires and Rubber for endorsing Black Lives Matter attire in the workplace while banning MAGA hats. In a comment to the recent Goodyear post, he wrote in part,
I absolutely HATE the way President Trump punches down like this from the Oval Office, it’s unpresidential! This is where his unethical loose cannon mouth gets him into trouble. Calling for a boycott from the office of the President of the United States is inappropriate….President Trump, shut the hell up and stop punching down; let the consumers make their own choices and speak with their dollars in the manner in which they choose.
Michael R, in his Comment of the Day on the post, “Goodyear’s ‘No Tolerance’ Policy Is Cowardly, Unethical, And Wrong, And The President’s Response Was Worse,” makes his case to the contrary:
When someone is acting unethically towards you, what should you do? What if there is no actual, ethical recourse for you because EVERYONE around you is acting unethically? Do you just accept it or do you fight back anyway? The press and the DNC are pushing a murderous agenda. Didn’t Andrew Cuomo kill 4x+ as many New Yorkers as the 9/11 terrorists? How many lives have been lost and businesses destroyed by their actions in the recent ‘peaceful protests’? What about their calls for perpetual lockdowns and states of emergency? Gangs of people are setting up roadblocks to harass and attack people. They are intimidating any local official that dares oppose them. They are demanding people turn over their houses. They are teaching elementary school children that all white people are racist. The press’ 1619 project teaches that this country is ONLY about slavery and uniquely so. What happens if their Marxist agenda succeeds?
Is it ethical to allow those voices to be the only ones heard? When the press refuses to cover the President’s events and his campaign ads get banned, what is he supposed to do? When the press promotes lies as the truth and the truth as lies, what should he do? Tweeting outrageous things is not ethical, but neither is remaining silent. There seems to be almost no outlet for the President to speak to the people without the press editing it, distorting it, or selectively reporting it. HIs opponents are pulling people from their truck and beating them unconscious, burning people alive in buildings, ordering the FBI to continue following the orders of the previous president after the new president takes office, trying to overturn an election, and intentionally killing tens of thousands of elderly patients in nursing homes. He needs to be able to expose this and get his side of the story out. I view his Tweets as coded messages, like ‘Animal Farm”, which also would be unethical in this context.
Give me an example of another way Trump can get his message out that is ethical and would work. “Maybe he could hold rallies?”- the Democratic city leaders have shut that down over Coronavirus fears. “Maybe he could hold a press conference” – that has to go through the editing of his enemies. “Maybe he could put a video on Facebook” only for it to be taken down because it violates ‘community guidelines’. Even his Twitter feed, that the Supreme Court rules was a public forum and forbade Trump from banning people (or editing things, I believe) is subjected to ‘fact checks’ by random Twitter employees. It is not acceptable that Trump is not allowed to get his message out to the American people without being deleted or modified by his opponents. If he has to use code, subterfuge, and social engineering tricks to do it, that says a lot about his opponents, doesn’t it? I wish he didn’t do this, but I can’t find another way.
My karate instructor told me that his master almost refused to teach him because he was a pacifist. His instructor said “Pacifism is just an excuse cowards use to refuse to get involved”.