Dancing with Old Scratch
I work for a big box retailer.
Yes, that one. The one in the news so much this last month.
This last month has been difficult to show up for work, knowing how much I despise and find reprehensible their new open bathrooms policy, and having to keep my mouth shut.
And as I said in some comments not long ago I am not discussing politics with friends this election cycle because they are friends and I'd like to keep it that way.
But I'm a 54 year old man with not a whole bunch of options in this town and need to feed my family so I dance with the devil.
Around 9:30 this morning Dean, Juan and I were doing our stockroom work. Dean is like me, early 40s, Pa. Dutch/Irish and very conservative.
Juan is Puerto Rican late 30s and very liberal.
We are all lifelong residents of this county.
And all friends. Or were.
From absolutely out of nowhere Juan starts in on Dean. About how Dean must be really excited at the prospect of having Bill Clinton back in the White House. How he had done such a good job balancing the budget etc.
Dean began countering. How taxes had been raised. How Gingrich and crew had as much to do with balancing the budget as Clinton.
Juan fights back in true liberal fashion. Shouting and yelling and not letting Dean get a word in.
And it is clear Dean is getting angry.
And then Juan comes at me, who thus far has remained silent.
My response is that as far as I'm concerned Clinton was/is a serial rapist.
And that was all it took.
Juan counters with well then Clinton must be Mexican because as we all know all Mexicans are rapists. And how terrorists come across the Canadian border not Mexican. and so forth.
Juan, I said, why the hell are you trying to start a fight today? Why are you stirring things up?
It's my right. Right of free speech. I'm not stirring things up just voicing my opinion It's my civil right.
He then starts on the bathroom issue. How it is a great idea. How it is the civil rights fight of this generation.
And now I let my opinion known. How it is not the transgenders or gays or lesbians that concern me but the pedophiles and molesters hiding among them.
Juan states there have always been pedophiles etc going into the bathrooms and nobody ever did anything about it why is it such a big deal now.
And then he said
"You're all just a bunch of pussies. grown men afraid of a guy wearing a dress. You're just a bunch of fucking pussies."
And that quickly I was in front of him. Felt my fist clench and shoulder tighten...
And I managed to disengage and walk away. Went to work in another area instead of being further antagonized.
Because, even though he was clearly out to provoke Dean and I there is no way the Big Box retailer would have backed me up.
It's their policy and they have doubled down on it despite the outcry.
My rights clearly don't matter. Nor do yours. Whether you believe it is wrong on religious, moral or just plain safety grounds your rights no longer matter to the Big Box retailer. And mine doubly so as a (former) customer and current employee.
Whether Juan will now take this as a "victim" (of what?) to the next level with management I don't know.
But if it's happening in this store it is happening in others. And if it is happening in this chain it is happening in others. Employees forced to shut up and allow such open verbal attacks with no recourse without contravening company policy.
It happened to my daughter in '08 during Obama's first run.
Nothing has changed.
And although I have no plans on bringing it up again it is now apparent to some few that although I may have to dance with the devil there is a large space between us while I do so.
Talk about fostering a hostile work environment.
This is going to be a very ugly summer.