Just over two months ago, I lost my job, ostensibly for attendance, but as that all happened in a timeframe that, where I in management, would have been a first then second level warning (verbal then written) I could not help but think, why so fast. Beginning in 2016 in earnest, although when really considering this, it began in 2009, conservatives, Christians, and white men, have been the target of so many segments of society, it’s hard to ignore. An image went viral more than once in the early part of the 2010’s, showing a Priest, alone at a table eating, while topless women screamed at him, appearing also to have thrown food on him, as he simply sits there. Since then, attacks have only worsened, to the point where, in the last several months, a pastor in Washington I believe, was brutally attacked, his Bible destroyed, and parts of it thrown into the fecal pool of a portable toilet.
The mainstream media, since 2016, has worked overtime to categorize riots as “mostly peaceful protest,” with one very well known personality on CNN (Chris Cuomo) openly saying “show me where it says protests should be peaceful” then crying and acting as if he was brutally attacked when people simply sent him screenshots and other images of the text of the First Amendment, which clearly says “peacefully protest” when addressing that right. Being a conservative, white, Christian male, I have known for some time that my beliefs and politics are such that many, if not most, around me on a daily basis would openly hate me if I let them be known. Until the last year, I was rarely, if ever, on Facebook, and my other social media did not use my name or image, so as to allow me to watch and read stories without fear of being targeted.
Even recently, when I returned to Facebook, I did not openly scream my politics. It isn’t difficult to know where I stand on issues, but I never spoke ill of anyone I worked with, never said that anyone should hide their beliefs or politics, yet, just over two months ago, I lost my job. Within a matter of hours, the person who had been my immediate supervisor was commenting on a post I’d made on Facebook, all but saying in direct words, that I was completely wrong about a political issue, when I know for a fact I was not. SCOTUS nominees have, sadly, been asked for more than 20 years, to state how they will rule on a given issue. Having watched this since the early 90’s, when Clarence Thomas was viciously attacked by liberals in Congress, none have done so, instead saying they would rule based on the Constitution. Some said that precedent should be taken into account, but even then, none have said they will “simply uphold precedent,” something that should not be done simply to uphold a former ruling.
I have watched over the last year as Conservative actors, musicians, athletes, and others, have been attacked, many losing their jobs. A coach who simply walked to the 50 yard line, alone, after games, to silently pray on his own, was fired for his faith. He never even mentioned what he was going to do, never even said “if you want to, you can join” to anyone. But as students who shared his faith, or simply respected him, joined him after games, people who think the First Amendment means Christians must remain silent worked to destroy him. A baker in Colorado who despite the media coverage, did not refuse service to an LGBTQ couple, but simply said he would not create a custom cake for them, was sued repeatedly, the couple demanding he violate his faith to create their cake, at one point even stating they “have a right” to the cake they want. When he won, they appealed time and time again, proving their goal was to force obedience. When others pointed out they drove far out of their way, this was when they would say it was “their right” to have what they wanted.
I never believed I would be a victim of this new movement in the US, even working where I was mocked for having a conversation about motorcycles with a man at a bar while waiting on co-workers, because this man wore a Reagan/Bush ’84 shirt. The person who mocked me also openly used the phrase “Orange Hitler,” and despite my holding a degree in history, with certification to teach history, having had relatives who fought in WWII, and knowing who Adolph Hitler was, I refrained from saying anything. Personally, I thought “remaining professional” and sticking to work related topics would ensure I did not have any negative things happen. Apparently though, my refusal to engage in that conversation, either giving that person ammunition to get me fired, or agreeing with them, was the ammunition needed. When “Orange Hitler” was said, I ignored it, when I was mocked for talking about bikes with a man because of his shirt, I ignored it, and left soon after, not wishing to sit around drinking anyway, but especially not with someone who would do that.
Today, I had a hearing about unemployment benefits, as I cannot find work even approaching the salary I lost, deciding to pursue further education to allow for my finding work which would keep me near that salary, or above it. Until today, all I would be told is that my claim was denied, that I was let go for cause. My former employer, however, did not attend the hearing, which to me says “we will not object.” I was honest, and yes, I spoke about the fact that I firmly believe I was targeted for my politics. I did, just after filing the appeal that led to today’s hearing, notify my former employer of my feelings. I am hopeful that this is what led to today, that being that they know what happened, and no, I did not name names, as I do not wish to get even the person who mocked me openly for the politics of another person, fired. Even someone who, apparently, believes “if they wear a shirt I don’t like, no one I’m connected to may speak to them.”
What is the point of all of this? We must return to the world of logic and reason. Humans have never and will never, as groups, be homogenous in their beliefs. Even an extremely small Church with a very close congregation will see disagreements. But we should be able to disagree and still remain at least civil. The very person who mocked me and openly called a former President “Orange Hitler” would come to me for help with many parts of the job we both did, and I would regularly go to them for help in areas where I knew them to be the subject matter expert. Sadly, it appears that, even in a company that claims to be “faith based” as my former employer does, politics still rules, and conservatives are to be grateful they may work for the time deemed allowed. I implore those reading this to be adults, to be civil, and accept the simple fact that you will never agree with someone on all things. Disagreements happen, but when they do, even “agreeing to disagree” is better than ruining a life. I know that what Man means for evil, God can use for good, and I believe that will happen here, but I also cannot be silent, and feel I must work to return the US to her glory days, when people could disagree and still be friendly, or at least, civil, to each other.