Talking politics in workplace is a right
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, February 2, 2012 17:02
On Sept. 17, 1787, the Constitution was created, followed by the Bill of Rights that declares our freedoms. The most practical and used right in the United States of America is freedom of speech. Does this include talking politics at work? That is a big question many people ask. My opinion is our First Amendment covers it.
It is no secret that politics is a hot topic. It's a hot topic such as religion, money or sexual preference. I don't believe, just because a subject can rub someone the wrong way, it should be banned. That goes double for politics since the subject is so beneficial in everyday life, especially with the radical changes the political landscape has gone through since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.
Politics is a hard subject to avoid considering the nation is in an election year, particularly with the excitement for Florida's Republican primary this past Tuesday. The nation is experiencing political tension and is getting involved.
College students are a demographic known for political involvement. "More than six-in-10 college graduates (63 percent) fall into the high knowledge group…," the Pew Research Center reports.
Knowledge is power, and the more you speak the more you can learn. I am not saying you should yell your political views at the top of your lungs or into faces, forcing your ideas on other co-workers, or worse, to the customers. Your views need to respect the views of other people. That I believe is the major issue between most people. That is what separates a conversation and a debate.
One of the biggest issues that have set back the political world is not understanding others political preferences. Talking to other people with different views not only makes you know how strong you feel about your choices, but it give you the perfect chance to learn about others choices. It helps people keep current with the country, politically speaking. Human interaction can be the easiest way to do so.
A lot of customer-service related jobs or the most common ones require being face to face with other people and require a person to be talkative and capable of holding a conversation. Any server or waiter will tell you that any topic can come up in conversation, and if you don't have a response, you look like a fool. If a customer or co-worker asks you a question about politics or brings it up, what will be your response? You might say, "My company won't let me talk," but last time I checked, the U.S. was a democracy.
Companies and employers may have specific rules regarding speech in certain circumstances, but freedom of speech still exists. If it doesn't affect your job's performance or the performance of others, you shouldn't be punished. Sadly though, there are countless cases of people being terminated for speaking their minds in the workplace or on social media such as Twitter or Facebook.
Why would your political view be different than anything else we talk about? Is whether I am a Republican or a Democrat any different than whether I am a dog or cat person? If your boss is a Republican, can't you talk like a Democrat? Where is the line?
The Bill of Rights protects people from making laws that prohibit freedom of speech or press. It makes no difference if you are a donkey or an elephant, maybe neither; politics should not separate us as people. Your work environment is still your environment.