Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ethics and integrity trainings, virtuous proclamations of “inclusion and diversity”, and hiring of Chief DE&I Officers with entire departments under them… and what are the results? Mass discrimination, vilification, and hatred – all sanctioned by our business leaders (who either allow it or remain silent), enabled by Legal and HR, and accepted with chilling silence from coworkers. This is not who we are.
Hard working employees who helped grow companies and enrich shareholders and executives, hero nurses who put themselves and their families at risk to help save lives, law enforcement officers and first responders who put their lives on the line for us every day, and selfless men and women who dedicate their lives to serving our country – all vilified, shunned, excluded, and fired from their jobs. And what was their crime, exactly? They lacked an artificially stimulated immune system that is apparently only good for a limited time.
Artificially generated immune response is apparently the only way an employee should “choose” to protect themselves. Our natural immune systems, artfully and beautifully created or refined by millions of years of scientific evolution (whichever you believe) are no longer acceptable in the workplace. You must inject yourself with a man-made substance or be subjected to never-ending testing, be excluded from offices, and in many cases, lose your livelihood. Dare I ask a few very legitimate questions in a world where questions are no longer allowed – Is this ethical? Is this inclusion and diversity? Is this what ESG investors are looking for?
As I think back to the hundreds of hours I have spent on ethics and integrity trainings, inclusion and diversity trainings, and the never ending barrage of emails I receive to reinforce them, I wonder if I am the only one left confused, stunned, and questioning everything I have learned. How could this happen? What about all of the things I have been taught in Corporate America? Did they really mean what they said?
My trainings teach me to speak up if I see something that is not right – “If you see something, say something”. That is the mantra we have come to know. And we are also told by our leaders and HR that we will be protected from retaliation if we do speak up. This leaves me with more questions – does anyone else see what I am seeing? Will anyone else stand up and say something? What will happen to those who raise their hand? Will they be regarded a heroes or cast into the lions’ den?
Corporate America also taught me to be a critical thinker, so I will run a final thought process by you. If you do not include someone, isn’t this called exclusion? And if you exclude an entire group based on a common characteristic, isn’t this called discrimination? And if you discriminate against a group of people, how can you say you have a culture of inclusion and diversity? How are you upholding ethics and integrity?
To the Unvaccinated – I will include you in everything I do. I will greet all people with a handshake and a smile. I will not ask you about your personal health choices, but will ask you who you are as a person. I will support you, I will go to bat for you, and I will fight for you. I will not live in fear, but will live with arms wide open. I will never reveal my personal health choices or show any “papers” in any form. Whatever hate and discrimination you endure, I will endure with you. I pray you make a decision with which you are comfortable, free from coercion, pressure, or manipulation.
To the Vaccinated – Let not the worship of “science” or the preaching of fear overcome who we are as human beings. When the dust settles and the panic fades, will we be proud of who we have become? Will your great-grandchildren read the history books and be proud of what you have done? Will the incentives of money and acceptance have overcome your ethics and integrity? Will putting “science” above all else have allowed you to abandon your humanity?
I pray that good men and women in leadership positions will stand up and put an end to this madness before it escalates any further. While the hardships and human rights violations of our past are being scrutinized, groupthink in our nation is causing our leaders to be complicit in what is shaping up to be an equally atrocious outcome, all in the name of “the greater good”. History will be the judge of our actions. Through all of this, let us not leave a legacy that, again, ends in shame.