Kaepernick, Davis, Foundries and the Right to Protest

Several years ago I was employed as a hilo operator in a foundry. It was a political season and I was a very vocal supporter of a certain candidate. One day, I affixed a yard sign declaring my allegiance securely to the back of my lift truck and proceeded to do my job. It wasn’t long before I was approached by one of the owners of the company and told to remove the sign. These were his reasons:

  1. I was driving a company vehicle
  2. I was on company property
  3. I was being paid by the company
  4. I was using a platform that was not authorized

The owner mentioned that he did not disagree with who I was supporting, but that wasn’t part of the decision. Reminds me of the old saying that you shouldn’t discuss politics or religion at work. I must say I agree.

I support Colin Kaepernick’s right to his beliefs and his right to make them known. I don’t even necessarily disagree with many of the foundational reasons for his protest. However, he is an employee of an organization and represents them and not the cause which fuels his protest.

I say go ahead and be vocal, make your feelings known, “stand up” for what you truly believe and don’t be intimidated by the negative reaction. My only disagreement is that you are doing it while wearing the uniform, representing an organization and a city, and while being paid to do a certain job. Do your work within the guidelines everyone must function under, that will earn respect which will allow you to unleash your beliefs and protest in a way that has a more significant impact.

Remember Kim Davis? You may or may not agree with her beliefs but she was being paid by the state to do a specific job and was obligated to do it. If the job interferes with your personal beliefs, get a different one. It’s very simple really.

Social media provides plenty of ways in which to disseminate ones opinions and strongly held beliefs. Take full advantage of the many tools our current society has to get the word out.

Isn’t it funny that we are all allowed to voice our opinions freely, but the second an actor or athlete shares their thoughts, we degrade, ridicule and tell them to stick to what they do best? Maybe it’s because they are taking advantage of a much larger platform than we have and we don’t like it, unless of course we agree with them, then its OK.


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