On Saying Nothing

‘Tis a dangerous thing to banish, censor, segregate, and/or ridicule on the basis of beliefs. Those seemingly small acts of “take that” are a dangerous shove down the slippery slope. In a class discussion of the importance of following the law and telling the truth, a student asked the Barometer, “What if you had been in Germany and knew a Jewish family — would you have lied and hidden them?” Without hesitation, the answer was, “Of course.” However, the Barometer added the head-turning observation another professor had offered years ago n response to the same dilemma, “The question that should really bother you is this, ‘Where were you when the Germans first placed yellow stars on the Jews in Germany?'”

Presently, we have lists of lawyers being singled out for disciplinary action for representing President Trump in his legal actions related to constitutional issues in five states. We have companies taking pledges not to hire those who worked in the Trump administration. Harvard is considering revoking the degrees of its alums who did the same. The PGA will not use a Trump golf course. Some companies will no longer donate to Republican politicians. The tech giants have joined together in permanently suspending accounts and taking away server access for sites such as Parlr. A congresswoman has proposed eliminating conservative television and radio networks as the root causes of evil. Each day another means for placing scarlet letters on Trump supporters, anyone who has done business with Trump, and anyone who sold a Trump a pack of M & Ms. The book-burners and witch- hunters had nothing on these zealots.

Political beliefs, no matter how misguided they may seem to those on the other side, are the stuff of the First Amendment. However, the First Amendment only prevents government silencing. In this era, the government stands back as a eunuch as private companies, nonprofits, and individuals do the silencing. What is being done does not cross legal lines. The ethical boundaries being cast aside, however, and the implications for equal protection and freedom, are staggering in number and boldness.

There will come a time when we look back on these emotionally raw times of great political division and wonder, “Where was I when those who were powerless were banished, censored, segregated, and/or ridiculed? How could I have remained silent?'” Easy enough to do when you are not affected personally and animus abounds. However, that last sentence is wrong. When a group in power exercises power over a minority group because they can, we are all diminished. The descent is swift and dangerous. And those who remain sullen and mute will one day meet the same fate. Unrighteous dominion does not end with perceived enemies. Never send to know for whom the ridicule and banishment come; they come for thee.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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2 Responses to On Saying Nothing

  1. Barbara says:

    Please tell us what can we do? I am certain I speak for many who are equally concerned about what is going on with these demonic Democrats. It is insane! It is Communism!
    That is the real issue!

  2. mmjdiary says:

    The only thing we can do is put it on the line — speak up in defense of those who are being silenced and labeled, support those who are working to build alternative platforms, and VOTE! Now is the time to focus on state and local elections and focus on restoring integrity in our election processes. No other country in the world permits ballots to roll in over up to a two-month period and for weeks after an election. Those kinds of things are fixed locally and at the state level and efforts there reap benefits nationally.

    The courage to defend others who have ben rendered defenseless is critical. However, when enough speak up, there is pressure on those imposing silence because of beliefs.

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