Sunday Commentary: Davis Ace Puts Downtown in a Tough Position

Ace_Hardware.jpgI was reading a letter to the editor of the local paper who wrote in response to the recent controversy by Davis Ace owner Jennifer Anderson – a controversy interesting enough to make the Huffington Post a few weeks ago.

The letter writer writes, “Did Jennifer Anderson make an error in judgment in writing a letter to her employees at Davis Ace? In my opinion, she did. Has she apologized for her error? Again, the answer is yes.”

As I will show shortly, Jennifer Anderson has made no apology for her error.

But my bigger problem is that this is not the first time Jennifer Anderson has done this.  I was made aware of this issue early last year (2011) following the 2010 elections, when she was putting anti-Obamacare and pro-Tea Party information not only in the employee lounge, but also enclosing it with paychecks.

People who want to argue she has the right to freedom of speech miss the point – there is a complete asymmetry of power in the relationship between an employer and employees, many of whom are college students trying to make enough to pay for tuition or living expenses.

There is also a judgment issue here – Davis voted for Obama with 81% of the vote, and you run the risk of alienating your customers.  Everyone has the right to say what’s on his or her mind, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the appropriate time and place to exercise that freedom.

But here is the kicker, as the letter writer indicates, “They (meaning Davis Ace) also provide jobs and city revenues through local taxes.”

So back to last year – there was a lost opportunity to handle this matter quietly and get the message across to Jennifer Anderson, suggesting that she had the right to whatever views she believed in, but to tread carefully on politics in the workplace, in particular the communication of that politics to her employees.

The person(s) whom I communicated with were in a quandary.  On the one hand, they believed that this conduct was an abuse of power and inappropriate.  On the other hand, they did not want to risk their job(s) while they were paying their bills.  I’m not criticizing them for this decision.

I sent the information up the chain in hopes that this problem would be communicated to Ms. Anderson, but it was not.

Talking to a number of business people in the last few weeks, the sense was that Ms. Anderson finally got caught doing something inappropriate (and they all expressed to me that to them this was a long time coming, and some of them very clearly and overtly relished this).  To some of them, she has gotten away for years unscathed.

I don’t know specifics here, but that was an overwhelming and pervasive view expressed by at least four different individuals, who had not communicated with each other about it, to my knowledge.

The problem everyone faces is that, for better or for worse, Davis Ace has become the anchor retail of downtown.  It occupies several different store fronts and is the only large retailer, with the possible exception now of Whole Foods.

In fact, many of us have defended and shopped at Davis Ace, even though the prices are a lot higher than Target or Home Depot (in Woodland), in order to keep sales tax in the city of Davis and protect the downtown.  Those of who did so are in a quandary.

Again, the issue is not necessarily that we disagree with Jennifer Anderson’s politics, but rather her judgment as to how to go about expressing those political views.  In my view, there is a time and place for political discussions, and a time to keep one’s mouth shut.

The problem is that a boycott of Davis Ace is not good for the downtown.  And from what I have gathered, this has the potential to do real damage, both to Davis Ace and the downtown.

The reaction on the Huffington Post article was to express anger toward the national chain Ace Hardware.  This is an interesting occurrence.  When a local owner in Florida of a Denny’s made comments about raising their prices to pay for Obamacare – sales fell nationally to Dennys, and the owner of the national chain had to intercede.

While this is a much more low-profile incident, it seems likely that Ace Hardware has caught word of what has happened here and has interceded, as well.

Jennifer Anderson apologized in the Davis Enterprise.

“I’m deeply sorry if I’ve offended any customers or employees,” Ms. Anderson told the Enterprise. “I truly believe in America and our liberty and everyone’s individual right to have an opinion.

“I guarantee I’m not going to change California or Davis’ results with my letter. It’s a process to educate; my entire process was to educate people about what can happen.”

The problem is that that was a non-apology apology.  She did not apologize for what she did.  She only apologized IF she offended anyone.

Even some who call themselves conservative have indicated to me that they do not buy the apology, and will not be shopping at Davis Ace again.

The problem is that right now, hurting Davis Ace hurts the Davis Downtown, hurts local sales tax revenue, and therefore hurts us all.  We are in a tough spot.

It gets back to the issue of creating a more viable retail sector in the Davis Core, which has become more heavily-oriented toward restaurants and entertainment and less oriented toward retail.  Davis Ace has been held up as the local hope – a beacon for local ownership.

And so, over the years, apparently many in the downtown have held their nose at outlandish conduct, many have held their nose over high prices, and some will probably continue to hold their nose at the self-destructive conduct of the owner a few weeks ago – because we simply have little other choice, other than to cut off our noses to spite our faces.

It would be nice if we had a real apology from Jennifer Anderson, something more than I’m sorry I offended someone.  Something that indicates that she understands why it was wrong to send a letter to employees telling them how they should vote for President (in California, among the safest of blue states). Something that indicates that this isn’t, or at least shouldn’t, be about politics, but rather about poor decision-making.

As Elisabeth Bogren wrote in a letter to the local paper: “Jennifer Anderson’s methods in trying to influence her employees in their choice of president in this last election disturb me. I, for one, am deeply offended by her letter, and the way it was distributed.

“Her employees deserve more respect in their choice of president.”

Indeed we all do.  What angers me the most here is that we need Davis Ace, but we do not need a rogue owner who can act inappropriately with impunity.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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82 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: Davis Ace Puts Downtown in a Tough Position”

  1. Phil Coleman

    Preceding this incident, Jennifer has always been a polarizing figure in the local community. She has as many supporters as detractors, and both views can be, and are, expressed with considerable intensity. And, no doubt, the Anderson name has strong historical and economic impact on the Davis community.

    Like her or not, Jennifer has always been an astute business person. And apparently she has strong political views, hardly a unique characteristic in this town. What makes her peculiar, if not unique, is that she has conservative political views.

    The point has been made before; Jennifer Anderson surely realized the futility of her effort to influence her employees’ vote. Even if the entire community within a 40-mile area block voted for Romney, Obama would have carried California with ridiculous ease.

    Taking into account the backlash that resulted–and the political futility with the entire effort–why did she do it anyway?

  2. medwoman

    David

    I agree with the points you are making, and would like to add another perspective to this discussion.
    For me the issues are not confined to the right to express one’s opinion, or the issue of judgement. For me this is a case of bullying. When there is such a power discrepancy ( employer to employee) and when there is a linkage between the employer’s preferred politics and the employees’s paycheck, there is an implied threat. If one has a strong incentive to maintain one’s employment, I cannot imagine that an employee would feel free to distribute pro Obamacare literature at work. If Ms. Anderson stands in defense of her right to express her political opinion, would she also support the right of her employees to do the same ? If not, could this not be considered the creation of a hostile work environment ?

    I do not believe in bullying. I consider this a clear cut case of it and do not believe that it should be tolerated in the schools or in the work place. I do not consider a boycott of Ms. Anderson’s version of ACE to be “cutting off our nose to spite our face” but rather a necessary statement of our unwillingness to support those who would bully those perceived as in a weaker position. I have been in the past a frequent shopper at ACE in Davis, but will not shop there again unless and until there is a real apology from Ms. Anderson including a statement of her actual transgression, her regret for it, and her intent to avoid such bullying tactics in the future. A non apology for the possibility of having offended someone most certainly does not qualify.

  3. Matt Williams

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”When there is such a power discrepancy (employer to employee) and when there is a linkage between the employer’s preferred politics and the employees’s paycheck, there is an implied threat.” [/i]

    I understand your point medwoman, but I think it is in reality a “molehill” point. The power discrepancy clearly does exist, but it does not follow the voter into the voting booth, where they very privately cast their ballot in secrecy.

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”If one has a strong incentive to maintain one’s employment, I cannot imagine that an employee would feel free to distribute pro Obamacare literature at work. If Ms. Anderson stands in defense of her right to express her political opinion, would she also support the right of her employees to do the same ? If not, could this not be considered the creation of a hostile work environment?”[/i]

    This point of yours has a bit more traction with me; however, in Davis the same political realities apply to a pro-Obama message as apply to Jennifer’s anti-Obama message. Both of them are really meaningless in the larger context of practical reality. In life we all follow the dictum of “pick your battles” and distributing pro-Obama literature at Davis Ace Hardware is not a battle that I personally would pick. With that said, my thoughts would be different if we were living in Tallahassee.

    JMHO

  4. medwoman

    Matt

    Why would your thoughts be different if we lived in Tallahassee ?
    If the moral principle applies in Tallahassee, would it not apply equally in Davis ?
    My thought is that if we do not stand on principle, we risk becoming that of which we disapprove. This is not about one’s individual politics. I would have the same reaction if someone had included pro Obamacare literature in their employees paychecks.

    Also, with regard to the molehill argument, if you artificially limit one’s political impact to the individual vote cast in private, I would agree. If you include the implied threat that one’s job might depend on not expressing one’s political opinion, let’s say by discussing politics in any venue where your statements might get back to your employer, then this becomes somewhat less of a “molehill” and definitely impinges upon one’s freedom to exercise one’s right to political expression. Might an employee for example not feel intimidated and thus kept from engaging in political activity at the Farmer’s Market or phone banking ? I stand by my comments about bullying and intimidation.

  5. hpierce

    Some major male bovine excrement being spewed here.

    I voted for Obama, and support the concepts (if not the details) of “Obamacare”.

    Bullying? Give me a freaking break! Ms Anderson would have no way of knowing how her employees voted! Maybe it could be considered as a PSA, letting them know that if the healthcare reforms (and I believe them to be, in whole, necessary reforms) are implemented, she feels she has to make some ‘business decisions’. For a privately held company/franchise, that is her right!

    I hate bullies. Although small in stature, I have had at least 3 serious confrontations with them (record: 2 wins, 1 ‘no decision’). A bully needs to be able to coerce you with a threat, against you as an individual, to do things “their way”. Ms Anderson did not/does not have that power in elections (although she might have if she retaliates against an employee who ‘politiced’ @ the worksite, opposite to her position).

    Grow up.

  6. Rifkin

    All the ninnies in Davis who are upset with Ms. Anderson’s telling her employees whom she supported for president in the way Ms. Anderson did so would be singing an entirely different tune if everything had been the same in this case but she instead was encouraging a vote for Barack Obama and not for Mitt Romney.

    And likewise, if Ms. Anderson had expressed support for Obama and against Romney in equal fashion, some right-wing ninnies would be upset with her.

    The Vanguard’s blatant partisan bias is the only reason this SECOND article on this non-topic was published.

  7. J.R.

    There are many business owners in Davis who publicly supported Obama. Those considering political boycotts should realize it goes both ways. Perhaps businesses owned by Obama supporters would lose a smaller percentage of their business, but it would still hurt.

  8. Jim Frame

    Given the obviously futile nature of the lobbying in this case, the only conclusion I draw is that Jennifer’s ego trumped both common sense and common courtesy, and what should be a respectful relationship was sacrificed to her need to try to impose her will upon the Ace employees in a matter unrelated to the business relationship. The fact that more than a few community members have expressed strong disapproval of her action is prima facie evidence that it was a detrimental business move; no business wants that kind of bad press.

    For the record, I’d feel the same way if she had lobbied on behalf of Obama. Politics has no place in a pay envelope.

    .

  9. Shane

    I think it is bullying if you’re being told that you job or benefits are in jeopardy if a candidate is elected …

    There is another hardware store option for keeping your tax dollars in Davis: Hibbert Lumber. We do have a choice.

    I will be watching closely which businesses in Davis provide healthcare for their employees and which do not and prefer to pay a penalty. No healthcare for employees = no dice for my shopping patronage. That will ultimately demonstrate where Ms. Anderson or any other business owner that falls under ACA rules stands.

  10. Don Shor

    This has been a public relations disaster for Davis Ace.
    I have had many people ask me why I think she did this. My answer: loyalty to her peers, to a degree that she failed to anticipate the impact on her staff and on the community. The best word I can think of is naive.

    Given that the letter begins “I am joining other business owners around the nation in asking employees to vote for Romney and Ryan” I think we can assume it was part of a coordinated campaign by the national Chamber or some other business group she belongs to. She was being a team player among her peers. But it had a profoundly negative impact on a couple of other ‘teams’ she belongs to: her employees, and local businesses.

    Those of us who argue on behalf of growth and planning policies that help to foster the success of locally owned businesses will find this presents a challenge. She has harmed the ‘buy local’ brand, on top of the harm that was done to the image of local businesses by the actions of the Davis Chamber PAC last year. So now when we discuss the Fifth Street project, or downtown parking, or zoning changes for Target, Jennifer’s letter will be one of the first distractions. I can hear it already; “why should I care about changing the zoning near Target? To support some right-wing local business?” And all for seemingly no purpose whatsoever.

    More on the ongoing backlash here: [url]http://daviswiki.org/ACE_Hardware[/url]

  11. medwoman

    hpierce

    “Ms Anderson would have no way of knowing how her employees voted!”
    Agreed. But totally oblivious to the point I was making. I feel that this pairing of a pay check with Ms. Anderson’s
    political point of view could have inhibited her employees decisions about when or if to be politically active in the community. As evidence, some posters here, myself included have not chosen to post under our own name since some of our posts may be so politically charged as to conceivably cause discomfort if not harm to ourselves, our families, or in my case my colleagues. Can you really not imagine a scenario in which one of Ms. Anderson’s employees might feel the need to curtail local community activism ?

    Rifs

    Either you did not read the portion of my post in which I stated very clearly that I would feel exactly the same if
    this had been done by an Obama supporter, or you believe that I am lying. You are certainly entitled to that opinion, in exactly the same way that you are entitled to be in error.

  12. Alan Miller

    There was no power discrepancy. Had the owner of ACE followed employees into the voting booth and looked over their shoulder, then there would be a problem.

    I had an employer do this years ago. Everyone thought it was tasteless, everyone voted as they would have anyway, and no one lost their job. No power issue.

    The judgement of the ACE owner is questionable, and the repercussions to the business will happen, probably not all that deeply over time.

    My main issue with the letter was how poorly it was written. It was like a first draft after too many glasses of wine, and run by no one for a second opinion.

  13. concernedcitizen

    I love talking about people rather than with them. Has anyone thought about maybe going a different route; maybe talking [i]with[/i] her directly instead of writing about her on this board?

    Btw, I have no dog in this fight. Just raising the issue of healthy communication.

  14. concernedcitizen

    I love talking about people rather than with them. Has anyone thought about maybe going a different route; maybe talking [i]with[/i] her directly instead of writing about her on this board?

    Btw, I have no dog in this fight. Just raising the issue of healthy communication.

  15. davisite4

    There is a simple solution for how to fix this. Whether it will actually happen remains to be seen.

    Someone who is close to Ms. Anderson needs to sit her down and explain to her why her actions were problematic. She then needs to provide a genuine apology plus a promise to never do this again.

    Shoppers will return. Harm to downtown averted.

    Friends/associates of Ms. Anderson, are you listening? Time to have a heart-to-heart talk with her.

  16. medwoman

    Alan

    Once again, for me this is not about the actual vote. Of course, that activity remains private and therefore would not be affected. However, political activism is not a private activity. Can you definitively state that no employee would have felt intimidated enough not to participate actively in campaigning for Obama ? Of course we cannot know as it is fairly certain that if they had been so affected, they are not about to step forward now and say so.

    Concerned Citizen,

    What makes you think that no one has discussed this with Ms. Anderson ? I have not, as like you, I have no specific dog in this fight, just a firmly held dislike for intimidation.

  17. Mark West

    I’m having a hard time getting worked up about this non-story and don’t understand David’s reasoning for the redundant posting. I don’t see this as an example of bullying (sorry Medwoman), nor do I view it as a justification for boycotting the store. I do think it was a bad business management decision and agree with Don that it has become a “public relations disaster.” People, and businesses make mistakes, the question is what will Jennifer choose to learn from this experience?

    Of more interest to me is this comment by David:

    “[i]The problem is that a boycott of Davis Ace is not good for the downtown. And from what I have gathered, this has the potential to do real damage, both to Davis Ace and the downtown.[/i]”

    When we are discussing economic development, and what is best for the Downtown, the focus of the discussion should be on the entirety of the business environment, not on the impact of a single store. When we put the interests of a single store (either good or bad) over the interests of the total business environment, or even try to equate the two, as I think David is doing here, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. Davis Ace’s problems are their own (and their own making), and the impact of those problems should have no place in the discussion of what is best for Downtown. We need to be thinking about how we can create an environment to foster ten new stores as successful as Davis Ace, not worrying about how to protect the one from its own bad decisions. Davis Ace does not equal Downtown Davis and if we truly want to protect the Downtown as a business district we need to stop being concerned about the impacts (real or imagined) on one store.

  18. GreenandGolden

    Medwoman: Tallahassee is in Leon County, next door to Gadsden Co. the tiny pair of blue islands in the red sea of what is known as “The Land That Time Forgot,” the panhandle of north Florida.

  19. Rifkin

    Drugs: [i]” I would have the same reaction if someone had included pro Obamacare literature [b]in their employees (sic) paychecks[/b].”[/i]

    Jennifer Anderson has explicitly denied this charge. She says she never included this pro-Romney letter with her employees’ paychecks. She told the Davis Patch it was not a “paycheck stuffer.”

    As far as I can tell, one anonymous employee has told David Greenwald it was included in his pay envelope. I have no idea which one of them is not being truthful. I do know that Jennifer has said she wrote the letter, has said her intention was to persuade people to view her prefered candidate favorably, and that her letter was not included with their paychecks. On the other hand, someone who (certainly for good reason in this case) chooses to be anonymous, claims it was a paycheck stuffer. For two reasons I give more credence to Jennifer: first, I know her and believe she is an honest person; and second, the accuser is anonymous and thus cannot be questioned. If multiple employees (say 5 or more) said it was in their pay envelopes, I would say that trumps Jennifer’s claim. But I would have to have some good reason to know that those 5 were actually her employees, and not some Democratic activists trying to stir the pot.

    [img]http://www.economicnoise.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/hippocratic-oath-medicine_dayala0332c.jpg[/img]

  20. Rifkin

    [i]”Can you definitively state that no employee would have felt intimidated enough not to participate actively in campaigning for Obama?”[/i]

    You mean the way Republicans who are forced to join unions are actively intimidated into not campaigning for their party’s candidates?

    Almost every newspaper makes public its endorsements for elective offices. Is your view that intimidates employees of those newspapers?

    Given the subsidies most of them rely on for their survival, I would imagine that the corporate officers of all green energy companies which endorsed a candidate for president this year did so on behalf of Mr. Obama. They likely would have said just the opposite of what Jennifer Anderson said–that the future prospects of their jobs and their company depend on Romney not winning and on the continuation of Barack Obama as president ([url]http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2012/11/renewable-energies-weigh-in-on-obama-victory[/url]). I seriously doubt you would question the validity of the point of view of those companies. Would you then object as strongly for them letting their employees know how important it was to them that Obama wins?

  21. Matt Williams

    medwoman said . . .

    [i]”Why would your thoughts be different if we lived in Tallahassee ?

    If the moral principle applies in Tallahassee, would it not apply equally in Davis ?

    My thought is that if we do not stand on principle, we risk becoming that of which we disapprove. This is not about one’s individual politics. I would have the same reaction if someone had included pro Obamacare literature in their employees paychecks.”[/i]

    There are two issues being conflated here. One is intrusion into one’s vote, and I really don’t see how any intrusion can actually happen. The second is intrusion into one’s ability to speak out on behalf of one’s preferred candidate. That issue is where being in Davis vs. being in Tallahassee is meaningful. In Davis one’s vote for President is effectively meaningless in terms of the outcome, in Tallahassee that is clearly not the case. Every vote counts in Florida. Therefore, if we were in Florida making an issue of the way in which Jennifer distributed the material may well have an effect on the election outcome. In Davis there is no ROI for the effort expended.

  22. Don Shor

    “Would you then object as strongly for them letting their employees know how important it was to them that Obama wins?”
    This is the ‘hypothetical hypocrite’ argument. In a hypothetical situation, with the roles reversed, would you take the same position? We get this from rusty and others here all the time. It is, of course, unarguable because the hypothetical situation hasn’t occurred. And there’s the special wiggle room: “as strongly”? I mean, you [i]might[/i] object, but would you object [i]as strongly [/i]as you are objecting now? Ha! [i]Probably[/i] not! You can [i]say[/i] you’d react the same, but we know you wouldn’t be as, oh, I don’t know, as intense about it.
    So you’re either a [i]complete[/i] hypothetical hypocrite, or at the very least a [i]partial[/i] hypothetical hypocrite for your hypothetical lack of intensity in the reaction you hypothetically [i]might[/i] have to the supposed situation!
    It’s right up there with the slippery-slope argument as a popular rhetorical device.

  23. Rifkin

    [i]”It is, of course, unarguable because the hypothetical situation hasn’t occurred.”[/i]

    Sure it has. A whole long list of solar power companies endorsed Obama for reasons very similar to Anderson’s reasons for endorsing Romney. I don’t blame them for expressing those sentiments. I equally don’t blame Jennifer for giving her views. It’s all free speech.

  24. medwoman

    Rifs

    I think your points are worth addressing.
    First, I took the story as truth that the letter was included with the employee paychecks. If this is in error, then my objection goes away entirely. For instance, I have no problem with Ms. Anderson placing this letter in the employee break room or a similar spot. I do have a question about the format ? Maybe you know the answer from Ms. Anderson. The format of her communication was a letter addressed to “Dear Team Member”. Letters usually imply some form of personal distribution. Do you know, how these letters were distributed ? If they were with the employee paychecks, then I stand by my comments. If they were sent or distributed independently, then my comments would not apply.

    As for the degree of my disapproval if this had been an employer that favored Obama, frankly I think I would have been more dismayed. I can see me now doing the forehead slap and saying, potentially to the business owner herself, ” Are you absolutely crazy ????!” How could you do anything so incredibly stupid when we are obviously so far ahead. Are you trying to shoot yourself in the foot ? And, despite the fact that many don’t agree with me,
    a bully is a bully and needs to get called on it regardless of party or ideology. To me this is no different from bullying that occurs in some union situations of which I have stated in the past that I do not approve. I would refer you back to conversations between Elaine and myself in which I made it clear that union bullying, violence and threats were unacceptable to me.

    Matt

    Again, it was not the individual vote that was of concern to me. It was the possible dampening effect that this communication might have upon an employee’s willingness to work actively for the side not favored by the employer.

  25. SODA

    Endorsements are fine. Endorsements by an employer to employees with an implied ‘threat’ is another.
    I am not swayed by the ‘ok if Obama in CA because wouldn’t count’. If it’s wrong, it’s wrong.

  26. Mr.Toad

    It was a dumb move and rude but it won’t stop me from shopping there. Unless I want to leave town its the only place to get many items. If there was more competition from a Home Depot, Lowes or True Value I would look for competitive prices at other stores and save some money. As it is without competition Davis Hardware can reap the premium from reduced time and transportation costs others people need to pay to go to other towns to get hardware. With more competition Ms. Anderson might have more pressing business concerns than who her employees would vote to elect. If anything the answer isn’t a boycott. The answer is more commerce and competition. The answer isn’t a political one its an economic one. More competition, more consumer choice, cheaper prices, more free enterprise, less protectionism, now you are talking!

    Despite her politics I know Ms. Anderson and her family to be generous contributors to local charities. So even though she may feel strongly about a candidate for elected office she is not without a sense of social responsibility. It is for this reason that I don’t let a person’s political beliefs interfere with commerce because just because i disagree with something doesn’t mean I will disagree with everything. In fact, I think it is a dumb idea to let personal politics interfere with business, because, once you start down that path where does it end?

    I also wonder about this silly idea that the Davis’ Downtown deserves special treatment. If businesses can’t make it they get replaced by those that can. The florist goes under and gets replaced by a book store or a toy store or a wine tasting shop. Its not as if downtown isn’t a good place to do business its just that it is and always has been the right location for certain types of businesses that change with the times. Yes we should try to keep it a nice place to shop but we shouldn’t keep other business development out because it might be a detriment to downtown. That is a ridiculous idea.

  27. David M. Greenwald

    “The Vanguard’s blatant partisan bias is the only reason this SECOND article on this non-topic was published.”

    That’s an interesting point, if it is a non-topic, who decides it is so? This thread and previous generated a lot of comments and readers, the Enterprise article generated a number of letters pro and con, and the article generated national attention from Huffington Post. On what basis do you declare it a non-topic.

    You declare my partisan bias here, but ignore the article I published on the firefighters and Democrats and the one that reported on fraud in the local democratic party – (a) how do you know I wouldn’t have posted a similar article the other way and (b) even if I didn’t someone else would have.

  28. David M. Greenwald

    “There are many business owners in Davis who publicly supported Obama.”

    That’s not the point. The point was the employer – employee relationship.

  29. Don Shor

    medwoman: for more information about how the letter was distibuted, and other instances, you can go to the Davis Wiki link where the story broke originally. Just read down through the comments.
    [url]http://daviswiki.org/ACE_Hardware[/url]

  30. David M. Greenwald

    “Davis Ace does not equal Downtown Davis”

    It’s an interesting question. One reason I raised the point was that it was raised to me in a number of my conversations.

  31. David M. Greenwald

    “One is intrusion into one’s vote, and I really don’t see how any intrusion can actually happen.”

    She is not directly intruding into the voting place, but she is drawing a subtle distinction implying that a vote for Obama might cost them their jobs. To me that’s inappropriate.

  32. Don Shor

    [i] A whole long list of solar power companies endorsed Obama for reasons very similar to Anderson’s reasons for endorsing Romney.
    [/i]
    Are you aware of any situations where the owners of those companies mailed endorsement letters to their employees? And, just out of curiosity, which “solar power companies” endorsed Obama? The article you linked was about the reactions of various executives to his victory.

  33. medwoman

    [quote]“There are many business owners in Davis who publicly supported Obama.”
    [/quote]

    I completely agree with David on this point. It is not the fact that Ms.Anderson favored Romney. It is not the fact that she chose to inform her employees of why she thought they should vote for Romney. I would not have cared if she had plastered her store windows with signs for Romney. And if she did not indeed place the letter and the paychecks in unmistakably close proximity, then this is a non issue for me.

    I do not know Ms.Anderson and therefore cannot vouch for her honesty or lack thereof. I would however point out that she does have a vested interest in denying that the letter was placed with the paychecks, and it is very unlikely that anyone in her employ would step up to contradict her. And she has was willing to make one statement in the letter based on a quote that i am sure she was astute enough to know was taken out of context. For me, this would
    at least call into question whether or not she allowed her political zeal to affect her veracity.

  34. Don Shor

    medwoman: I believe, based on comments in the link at DavisWiki, that she mailed the letters to their home addresses gleaned from their employee files. Again: you can go to that link and scroll down through the comments.

  35. Rifkin

    [i]”medwoman: for more information about how the letter was distibuted, and other instances, you can go to the Davis Wiki link …”[/i]

    The link provided by Don confirms that David Greenwald’s reporting on this was wrong, if one is to believe the anonymous Wiki posters who broke the story. They say the Romney endorsement was mailed to their homes. They also say that in the past, not in this instance, Jennifer has included “articles” of a political nature in their pay envelopes.

    I don’t believe David has ever apologized for his error or corrected it. Knowing that, it’s notable that Greenwald calls Anderson to task for her non-apology-apology. Maybe he needs a mirror? After all, if the Wiki info is correct, then it was Greenwald’s mistaken reporting which caused many posters on the Vanguard (which attacked Anderson for placing that letter in their pay envelopes) to decide Anderson was wrong.

  36. medwoman

    Rifs and Don,

    Thanks for directing me to the set of comments on the Wiki. It seems I missed out on quite a bit while out of the country. If my assessment of Ms. Anderson’s actions was in error, I truly regret my reaction and comments and offer an apology to Ms. Anderson.
    If there was even an indirect or implied threat in either the letter itself, or the means of distribution, I stand by my comments.

  37. Jim Frame

    Since the paycheck nexus appears to be absent, I revise my assessment of Jennifer’s action from unethical to simple bad judgment, the latter referring to the effect upon both the employer-employee and business-customer relationships.

    .

  38. medwoman

    A question for any of the businessmen out there.

    In my field, it would be considered a breech of etiquette if not of ethics to look into an employ’s file to send them anything other than directly work related information. And even then, the information would be obtained by an administrative assistant as part of the mailing process. As a manager, I have had to counsel those under me for what I would consider far more innocuous reasons for accessing someone’s personal information, such as the desire to send them a social invitation for example. Is this not true in the retail world as well ?

  39. David M. Greenwald

    “The link provided by Don confirms that David Greenwald’s reporting on this was wrong, if one is to believe the anonymous Wiki posters who broke the story. They say the Romney endorsement was mailed to their homes. They also say that in the past, not in this instance, Jennifer has included “articles” of a political nature in their pay envelopes. “

    I don’t believe I reported anything other than this. The inclusion in the paycheck was in reference to 2010, not the current incident.

  40. medwoman

    [quote]The inclusion in the paycheck was in reference to 2010, not the current incident.[/quote]

    This would then bring up the issue for me of whether or not this represents a pattern of behavior and again
    Ms. Anderson’s veracity as she had stated that this was a “first time” for her when apparently she has taken similar if not identical steps in the past.

  41. David M. Greenwald

    “In my field, it would be considered a breech of etiquette if not of ethics to look into an employ’s file to send them anything other than directly work related information. “

    The whole thing is very questionable, but there is no controlling authority either.

  42. Rifkin

    [i]”I revise my assessment of Jennifer’s action from unethical to simple bad judgment, the latter referring to the effect upon both the employer-employee and business-customer relationships.”[/i]

    To my mind, mailing out the letter she did, expressing her opinions on an election shortly before the votes would be cast, is simply a matter of freedom of speech. Since we have a secret ballot, none of her employees had to agree with her or vote the way she did.

    Yet, having read the full Wiki commentary, and assuming those who claim to be Ace employees are in fact Ace employees, I agree that Jennifer has shown some poor judgment in a more general sense. It appears like she has been going overboard, trying to push her politics down the throat of her employees.

    For example, a pseudonymous Wiki poster, “Tryingtokeepmyjob,” wrote: [i]”I am an employee at Davis Ace … I can say that this is not the first time she has flooded us with her political views. For the past few months we have been receiving packets of photo copied OPED pieces from the internet, newspapers, and magazines that have been carefully selected to present conservative political views she agrees with. These packets were left in our employee break rooms …”[/i]

    Again, it is her right to do that. However, I can understand why an employee would not like a drumbeat of politics in their workplace. They are all there to make a living. They did not sign up for what amount to lectures on politics.

    Once or twice does not seem like a big deal to me. But “flooding” her employees with her politics for months seems to me inappropriate. Or as Jim said, it is “bad judgment.”

    Although it was a slightly different matter, I once went through this sort of thing in a summer job I had. I was working in a stock room at a shoe store in Beverly Hills. The owner was a devout Christian. He more-less kept his religious feelings out of the front of the store, where the customers were. But where I worked in the back, there were all sorts of Christian messages posted, and to me and to every other employee, he was constantly evangelizing. Mostly, it was annoying. I am not a Christian, but even those who were found it annoying. Since it was only for a few months and because I was making $10 per hour (back when minimum wage was about $3/hour), I stuck it out and kept quiet. I needed the money. But if I had the choice between working for an apostle and someone who never shared his religious views, all else held equal, I would have chosen the latter.

  43. davisite4

    Setting aside the legal issues, I do not see an [i]ethical[/i] difference between including the letter with a paycheck or mailing the letter to employees’ homes. In both cases, the letter is target directly to the individual employee and could be perceived as “vote this way or else.” And make the employee fear writing letters to the editor, having a bumper sticker, or other ways engaging as a citizen in this democracy that might go against what the employer has said.

  44. J.R.

    There are some thought provoking comments here, and I now lean towards agreeing she showed bad judgement.

    I heard that some teachers at the high school made anti-Romney comments to their students. Would that be a similarly unethical action, if true?

  45. David M. Greenwald

    JR: There are a whole slew of stories in the news pages across the country about teachers exercising bad judgment by interjecting politics into the classroom on both sides of the fence. I tend to believe it’s inappropriate on both sides.

  46. medwoman

    JR

    [quote]I heard that some teachers at the high school made anti-Romney comments to their students. Would that be a similarly unethical action, if true?[/quote]

    I think that the answer to this question depends upon the context. For example if anti-Romney or anti -Obama comments were made in the context of a math, foreign language or music class, then my answer would be yes, it is clearly unethical. If the comments were made in the context of a civics course ( or whatever they call it now) or in a debate class, then they might be appropriate depending upon the comment itself. However, it would never be appropriate for the teacher to look up the students address and mail them the letter that Ms. Anderson sent out with changes to reflect the possible loss of pubic education and their ability to obtain a good education in the future.

  47. SODA

    Good comment medwoman.
    My son teaches history at Berkeley High. I will ask him next time I talk to him, but I would hope he talked about the election, campaigning, Citizens United, etc in an objective manner. Maybe not so tough for him as he is way left of Obama!

  48. Mr.Toad

    “I am an employee at Davis Ace … I can say that this is not the first time she has flooded us with her political views. For the past few months we have been receiving packets of photo copied OPED pieces from the internet, newspapers, and magazines that have been carefully selected to present conservative political views she agrees with. These packets were left in our employee break rooms …”

    A friend once told me about another friend who flooded his email with political articles copied from the internet. I imagine that the article sender and Ms. Anderson need someone they can share their ideas with who will listen and acknowledge the virtue of their politics. Maybe she should start her own blog a sort of pro-business yet anti-competition web site devoted to the growth of the community in all respects except bringing in big box competition. A place where the free market meets downtown protectionism where Davis Progressives and Conservatives can agree on keeping downtown forever exactly as it is today.

  49. Problem Is

    [b]Who would you rather work for?[/b]
    Yeah, my employer attached material to my pay envelope as well…

    Only in our case it was a list of organizations that were in need of volunteers or donations to help the less fortunate this holiday season…

    [b]BTW David[/b]
    You can avoid Davis Ace without hurting the down town. It is called Hibbert Lumber. Try it sometime…

  50. Frankly

    Jennifer Anderson was doing her job as a business owner that cares for her employees. She was giving her employees job/career-related advice. Those employees were not damaged in any way, shape or form by that advice. They were not harassed. They could reject the advice with no consequences from Ms. Anderson.

    Putting myself in Ms. Anderson’s position, knowing that I had provided this advice to my employees so when Obama’s tax and spend policies and move toward socialized health care force me to lay some of them off and require the remaining employees to do more with less, I would sleep just a little better at night knowing I had warned them.

    But why is this even a story?

    The one-sided argument here is telling… especially in a time with overwhelming evidence that our education system and media spews left bias… including the constant message that young people, students, teachers, workers, blacks, Hispanics, women… basically every group except successful white men, should vote for Obama. Over years of debating many people with strong secular left-leaning political views, I have come to the opinion that many of them protect these views and respond to challenges to these views similar to haw a devote Christian does the same for their religious views. Those that reject Obama are their targets of attack for being secular blasphemers.

    Take Jennifer Anderson and her company to the Midwest and change the advice to renounce Jesus instead of Obama, and the local response would be comparable to what we see here in Davis.

    My point here is that some of us should dig a bit deeper to understand that WE are the source of the growing political divide and polarization in this country. We are making our politics much too personal. Jennifer Anderson is a private business owner. It is frankly none of anyone’s damn business what she communicates to her employees unless there is a legal challenge. If the employees do not like how she manages her own business, they can quit. If customers do not like how she manages her store, they can chose not to shop there. But the commentary is unnecessary and unhelpful unless your goal is to reinforce and perpetuate the political divide.

  51. Davis Progressive

    wow mr. boone, where do i start.

    first, she was not doing her job as a business owner for a number of reasons. i think by looking into personnel information to send political material was probably a breech of ethics and privacy.

    second, california’s outcome was not in doubt.

    third, jennifer actually risked hurting her employees by expressing right wing views in a liberal community.

    moreover, “I would sleep just a little better at night knowing I had warned them.” that’s rubbish. warning your employees about your subjective views when there is not a thing either of you can do to change things is just a waste of time.

    “But why is this even a story? “

    it’s a story because she showed incredibly poor judgment here.

  52. Frankly

    [i]wow mr. boone, where do i start[/i]

    Growth issue, will all due respect, I think you should have put some more thought into where you should start. You reinfoce my points.

  53. rusty49

    G.I.
    “third, jennifer actually risked hurting her employees by expressing right wing views in a liberal community.”

    Wow, did you really say that? That’s pretty much what’s happening here, Miss Anderson is getting bombarded for expressing her views.

  54. Davis Progressive

    i did really say that. my comment reflected the fact that she has hurt her business and by extension her employees through her conduct – how much is yet to be determined.

    she is not getting bombarded for expressing her views, she’s getting bombard for the time, place and manner and the appropriateness of the time, place and manner in which she expressed her views. i don’t care if she is conservative, i have a lot of conservative friends. what i do care about is that she her employee’s personnel information and apparently their paychecks to express them.

  55. Frankly

    [i]el jeffe: you’ll have to explain how my comments reinforce your points[/i]

    LOL, I have a couple of good friends that call me that.

    You wrote: [quote]third, Jennifer actually risked [b]hurting her employees by expressing[/b] right wing views in a liberal community.[/quote]

    I wrote: [quote]We are making our politics much too personal[/quote]

    Since when did expressing political views cause someone to be hurt?

    If the left is going to stick with its mission to be the protector of the under-represented, then it should be backing Ms. Anderson’s right to express her minority conservative views in this majority liberal town.

  56. Davis Progressive

    if it’s a trumped up non-issue Rusty, why so much interest not only on here but the rest of the community? i suspect, if the table were reversed, you would be beating the drum.

  57. Davis Progressive

    “If the left is going to stick with its mission to be the protector of the under-represented, then it should be backing Ms. Anderson’s right to express her minority conservative views in this majority liberal town.”

    you don’t see a difference between an individual expressing their views either publicly or to friends versus an employer doing the same?

  58. Frankly

    [i]you don’t see a difference between an individual expressing their views either publicly or to friends versus an employer doing the same?[/i]

    I don’t have a problem with the owner of a private company expressing her political views to employees; especially when the owner believes that an election can have an impact on the employees.

    Now, if Jennifer was a gubment employee, then I absolutely would have a problem with her spouting her political views to employees.

    I do have a problem with one-sided moral outrage from the side of politics filled full of people claiming to be of the smarter class.

  59. Mr.Toad

    Many years ago, 46 to be exact, Joe Coberly, a man whose family made its fortune inventing talking pictures with the Warner Brothers, leaned on at least one of his employees, my father, to vote Ronald Reagan for Governor. It worked and you know the rest of the story but Coberly did it by telling my father how good Reagan would be for both of them not by telling him how he would be hurt by a Brown victory.

  60. Michael Harrington

    Mr. Toad: good story!

    We went and bought holiday lights and things from Ace this weekend, and glad to be able to shop at such a nice and close store. We buy from Hibberts and Ace, and only go to Home Depot if we absolutely have to go up to Woodland because those items cannot be found in Davis.

    I hate shopping at Target. Sometimes the din of my 4 y/o reaches the point of fever pitch that we have to go out there for one of those dollar hot wheels so he has something for his pocket.

    I think I would have handled it differently than Anderson did, but she did not follow them into the voting booth and twist their arms.

    I’m not boycotting Ace Hardware, our locally owned co-operative.

  61. Frankly

    Speaking of the shrug… this attack against Jennifer Anderson matches the general political tone and direction of our state and nation… and it all fits very well into the Ayn Rand novel.

    I have a related secret to share with all my less production-experienced and/or less prolifically-producing friends that think this is the right direction. This is a very valuable secret… so please share it with many of your friends.

    Those people that produce… those that make… those that do so and become economically successful… most of them are not really doing it for the money. They are doing it for other reasons.

    They do it for achievement, recognition and ego fulfillment among peers… They do it because they are good at it and it feels like they are doing the right thing exploiting their talents. This is the same motivation as the college professor driven to be published multiple times, or a swimmer to strive to win a dozen gold medals.

    Now, let’s say that society turns on that professor. After all, how many publications does one professor need to be happy? At some point isn’t it just a form of hording… one person taking up all that limited publication space while other struggling professors cannot get a single article published.

    At the same time, let’s also demonize that swimmer. It is the epitome of greed for one swimmer to pursue and horde all those gold medals. What is he thinking? He should have just stopped at one so that other lessor swimmers had a chance to get some gold.

    Let’s say we attack and demonize these people with all the gusto that the left attacks economically-successful people, business owners and CEOs.

    Do that and take away their motivation to achieve and pursue recognition and fulfillment in their area of skill. You motivate them to shrug.

    This is the fundamental mistake being made with the political divide and conquer strategy of the left. Class wars have no exit strategy except full decline and eventual collapse of the system that sustains the masses.

    I’m sure Jennifer Anderson is doing a slow burn… questioning why she continues to produce for the looters and moochers that treat her so. After all, she provides the downtown anchor store that helps provide our measly 60% state average sales tax revenue that allows us to continue to over-compensate the public employee unions. She provides jobs for many residents. She does these things, and all she gets in return is attacks and scorn by the very people that benefit from what she does.

    My guess is that she has a sense of duty and devotion to her employees, and this, more than anything would keep her in business. Might the money she makes be a motivating force? Certainly… but I know a lot of people like Ms. Anderson… and for many of them money is a distant second to these other motivations. If they are not getting a return in appreciation…. If they are being attacked and demonized… then early retirement begins to sound much better… especially when the Democrats have assured us that even the wealthiest senior is entitled to Medicare and Social Security benefits.

  62. Michael Harrington

    Dear Neighbor Jeff: I agree with many, but not all of your points. I would agree that Anderson is probably wondering “who the heck needs this.” If I had the money I assume she has, would I bother running that large complex store? Like, hmmm … why not sell all that prime downtown real estate and go buy a nice small island somewhere to relax on?

    Well, I am glad she runs her stores, and I will continue shopping there and avoid Target, Walmart, and Home Depot to the greatest extent possible.

    As for my business, and politics: I like the chess playing, and I like knowing that the poor and middle class in Davis are better off for what I perceive as benefits to them. (Here that, Alf? Right across the board from you.)

  63. civil discourse

    Jeff Boone wrote:
    “I’m sure Jennifer Anderson is doing a slow burn… questioning why she continues to produce for the looters and moochers that treat her so. After all, she provides the downtown anchor store… She provides jobs for many residents. She does these things, and all she gets in return is attacks and scorn by the very people that benefit from what she does.”

    I still think it is about supply and demand.

  64. Jim Frame

    [quote] this attack against Jennifer Anderson matches the general political tone and direction of our state and nation… and it all fits very well into the Ayn Rand novel. [/quote]

    Only if you regard Rand and her “objectivism” as something other than a whiny rant about having to live in a society comprising people with interests, talents and needs not identical to your own.

    Jennifer Anderson is free to continue or close her business as she sees fit. If getting publicly slapped on the wrist for doing something that appears to have been profoundly unproductive causes her to choose closure, then she isn’t really much interested in continuing it anyway.

    Though I disapprove of an employer imposing politics in the workplace, I’ll continue to shop at Davis Lumber. To me it has, along with banks and the Post Office, represented the heart of downtown Davis for over 40 years.

    .

  65. medwoman

    “The hits just keep coming.”

    This contradicts your contention that the “makers” are not doing it primarily for the money but in search of excellence.
    None of these companies, with the exception of Hostess” which had financial problems well before the current election is facing the choice of layoffs vs bankruptcy, they are doing it to maximize their profits, in other words “for the money”.
    Now I don’t have any problem with making business decisions to make money. I do have a problem with disguising it in some pseudo philosophic
    Garbage about businessmen not being in it for the money. Especially when one of them of Papa John’s fame stated it was all about cost per pizza, in other words “money”.

    I also find it very ironic that one of our main defenders of free speech and a free market criticizes those of us who have criticized Ms. Anderson’s actions ( perhaps the value of free speech should be judged on how closely it conforms to your opinion ?) and those who choose not to shop at Ace not because of the expression of opinion, but the perceived bullying nature of the means of expression. Does not a “free market” also imply the freedom to spend our money where we choose and to publickly express why we are making that choice ?

  66. Frankly

    [i]Only if you regard Rand and her “objectivism” as something other than a whiny rant about having to live in a society comprising people with interests, talents and needs not identical to your own.[/i]

    Jim, Let’s reword that as a political and social philosophy that covers living in a society comprised of people prone to whiny rants (aka moochers) demanding that the government (aka looters) take more from the harder working, more talented (aka producers) to give away to those afflicted with the individually destructive and collectively corrosive mindset of entitlement.

    [i]I also find it very ironic that one of our main defenders of free speech and a free market criticizes those of us who have criticized Ms. Anderson’s actions [/i]

    I am a conservative with libertarian leanings. I will make you a deal medwoman, I will agree with your demand that conservatives keep their nose out of the private business of what private people do in their bedroom, and you agree to keep your left-leaning nose out of how private business owners run their business. As long as neither is breaking the law, then it is really none of our business. You have the right to make a private choice to not shop there. But public protest and attempts to influence others to join your scorn party are attacks. They warrant counter attacks from those that see these actions as political and social malice.

    If you want to take a stand, then go start a hardware and lumber store that competes with Davis Ace and run it the way you see fit. In doing so, assuming it is a successful business; my guess is that you would begin to see the world more like Jennifer Anderson.

  67. Frankly

    [i]Now I don’t have any problem with making business decisions to make money. I do have a problem with disguising it in some pseudo philosophic
    Garbage about businessmen not being in it for the money[/i]

    Medwoman, did you become a doctor and stay a doctor for the money?

    Don’t you see that it smacks of some level of elitism to make the case that one human, because of her choice of profession, is beneath your more noble purpose in life because she owns or manages a business that must make a profit to pay the bills, hire and retain employees and qualify for operating loans that allow them to have the cash flow to handle the ups and downs of sales revenue and expense. If you can attack her for her pursuit of profit, then it is fair to challenge you for how much money you make. Don’t you see the problem here?

    Last I checked, the company you work for operates to make a profit (called net excess in non-profit accounting). How much do you make? How much do all the management, administrators, doctors, nurses and technicians make? US nurses work the fewest hours and are paid much higher than nurses in any other industrialized country. How do you reconcile that with the fact that it drives the cost of healthcare higher beyond the reach of many families? Using your logic, one could make the counter argument that it is people like you, and your peers in the healthcare industry, that are responsible for poor sick people not able to afford health care.

    Your moral equivalency arguments are not very well grounded in my opinion. It appears to me that you are prone to accepting media-enflamed groupism and bias rather than doing the work to understand some critical human differences.

  68. Jim Frame

    [quote]Jim, Let’s reword that as a political and social philosophy that covers living in a society comprised of people prone to whiny rants (aka moochers) demanding that the government (aka looters) take more from the harder working, more talented (aka producers) to give away to those afflicted with the individually destructive and collectively corrosive mindset of entitlement. [/quote]

    You can reword it any way you’d like, but the above doesn’t square with reality as I see it.

    .

  69. Don Shor

    [i]”If you want to take a stand, then go start a hardware and lumber store that competes with Davis Ace and run it the way you see fit. In doing so, assuming it is a successful business; my guess is that you would begin to see the world more like Jennifer Anderson.”[/i]

    Or, better yet, inherit it, and a lot of other land and businesses, from your parents. That would be a more direct comparison.
    Jennifer Anderson has been very fortunate, as she would be the first to tell you.

  70. Frankly

    [i]Or, better yet, inherit it, and a lot of other land and businesses, from your parents. That would be a more direct comparison.
    Jennifer Anderson [b] has been very fortunate,[/b] as she would be the first to tell you.[/i]

    So has medwoman.

    So have I.

    So have you.

    So what?

    Do you have some line you want to set for what level of “fortunate” is below the line of justified scorn?

    Regardless, this does not change her need to run a profitable business.

  71. Don Shor

    I haven’t been scornful of Jennifer Anderson. I just think she made a big mistake. I was simply making the point that your challenge to medwoman (‘start your own business’) wasn’t particularly a valid comparison to the current situation.

    My guess is that the owner of Davis Ace has developed her political beliefs based on the values she acquired in her upbringing: her social and economic status, her family history, and her present circumstances. That is how most of us acquire our values and it oftenComment determines how we vote. I would hope that, given the blowback on this incident, and the outcome of the election, she and others might take some time to consider how others have acquired their values and political beliefs.

    People who are one paycheck away from the social safety net tend to have different values than those who are more financially secure. They may be voting based on self-interest, just as a business owner does. They may consider that the party that is promoting better access to health care for the uninsured, for example, reflects their values. And they are likely to vote accordingly. They aren’t ‘moochers’. They’re less financially secure.

  72. Frankly

    [i]”People who are one paycheck away from the social safety net tend to have different values than those who are more financially secure.”[/i]

    Most people that are financially secure have at times in their life been one paycheck away from broke. There are many people that would not even consider this thing called a social safety net. It is clear though that more and more do consider it… and believe it is someone else’s responsibility to provide it.

    [i]They aren’t ‘moochers’.[/i]

    Moochers are liberal elites that demand that government loot the producers so they, the moochers, can fund their giant mission of destructive altruism.

    The truly needy are not defined characters in this story. They are the victims of the destructive altruism.

    [i]it’s not everyone’s goal in life to maximize profit or material acquisition[/i]

    It is everyone’s natural tendency to pursue their own self-interest. That was/is my point. I reject the attempt of those on the left to grab some moral high ground. Frankly, the left animosity directed at those choosing material goods and profit as their pursuit is evidence of some driving force of resentment, envy or insecurity.

    Although I see plenty of hypocritical exceptions to it, it is a liberal’s tendency to assign higher value to non-material, non-monetary pursuits. There is no fundamental problem with that. The problem is the second tendency of a liberal to want to force-control everyone else to have to adopt their liberal value system. This is a fundamental difference of the average lefty compared to the average righty. The average righty (except for the damn bible-thumper) does not care what each individual pursues as long as it is legal and does not cause any other individual any material harm. Righties don’t support any social control mechanism, other than open debate, to force others to have to adopt their values. For example, the average righty would not write a blog article complaining that a private business owner is talking to their employees about politics and trying to persuade them to vote one way or another. If a person is old enough and informed enough to vote, then they should welcome any and all information about the candidates and causes they will vote for. Righties respect the individual choice that each person has, and respect their right to make their own decisions. Lefties, apparently, do not trust employees getting (right-leaning?) political information from an employer and thus prefer that there is some social control mechanism to prevent it.

  73. civil discourse

    Jeff Boone wrote:

    “Righties don’t support any social control mechanism, other than open debate, to force others to have to adopt their values.”

    Unfortunately, when you translate philosophy into politics, none of the ideals of either side (say, Ayn Rand or Noam Chomsky) will hold up to much scrutiny.

  74. Jim Frame

    Jeff and I have very different worldviews, and I don’t expect that to change, so I think it’s time I did a little shrugging of my own. I’ll express the hope that we never see the Randian plan writ large, and leave it at that.

    .

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