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The firing game

There are a lot of crazy laws in our country.

For instance, in Arkansas no person is allowed to sound a vehicle horn where cold drinks and sandwiches are served after 9 p.m.

In Los Angeles, you are not allowed to bathe two babies at the same time in the same bathtub.

In Baltimore, it is illegal to take a lion to the movies.

Even here in Oklahoma, a state law prohibits a person having a sleeping donkey in a bathtub after 7 p.m.

While we all might very well scratch our heads over the purpose or how these laws came into existence, it’s the laws we don’t have that might need some attention drawn to them. For instance, did you know it is perfectly legal to fire a person over their political views?

Recently some attention was called to the I Love Drilling Smoothie & Juice Bar in the Salt Lake City Tribune, where owner George Burnett said he charges liberals more for their purchases. However, it was the activity in the comments section that really got tongues wagging.

Terry Lee, owner of Terry Lee Forensics, had this to reply to the smoothie story:

“Love it. We had to let two employees go to cover new Obongocare [sic] costs and increased taxes. Found two Obongo supporters and gave them the news yesterday. They wanted the idiot in the Whitehouse [sic], they reap the benefits.” (Obongo is a racial epithet for Obama.)

And this kind of attitude is perfectly legal in the United States. In fact, only five states—New York, California, Connecticut, Colorado and Mississippi—prohibit the firing of any person based on their political beliefs.

Most employees in the United States sign a contract agreeing to remain “at will,” which means they can be fired for any reason that is not specifically unlawful. These unlawful reasons consist of firing a person based on sex, gender, religion, color or national origin.

We can’t fire a devil worshipper, but we can fire an Obama supporter.

This isn’t the case with public employees. After all, we citizens are protected from the government suppressing our political voices. But private employees have free reign with this stuff. Employers like Lee are well within their rights.

When you disagree with someone, it can be hard to work with him or her. I get that. But when you take away a person’s livelihood, a way for them to support his or her family in a country that is already struggling with unemployment, simply because you have differing political views, I am disgusted.

What happened to the things that unite us being greater than the things that divide us? What happened to bipartisanship and understanding each other?

I’m not calling for indifference. But I am calling for tolerance and reason.

Voltaire wrote, “The true triumph of reason is that it enables us to get along with those who do not possess it.”

What kind of reason do men such as Terry Lee possess? What about our own selves? I know this most recent election was rough on a lot of us, myself included. But I say we have to draw the line somewhere. And encouraging the firing of a person based on his or her own personal political beliefs is just too much for me. I say we have to stop driving the wedge deeper into the separation of our country. If we want to see any improvement, this pettiness has to stop.

And really, is cutting off half your potential customers because of their political beliefs a good business decision?

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