(In)Tolerant

In 2012, many names of those who contributed money to California’s Prop 8 campaign – the law proposed to make newly-legalized gay marriage illegal again in the state – was publicized. Many people were called upon by angry LGBT groups to answer for their support. Not surprisingly (at least to me), many of the people who contributed were also Democrats who voted for Barack Obama. I’m sure nobody remembers the fact that the vacationer-in-chief staunchly supported DOMA during his first campaign in order to attract the Democrat voters who are against gay marriage,

One of the names on that list two years ago was Brendan Eich. At the time he was the CTO of Mozilla, the company that built popular free internet browser Firefox. Last month he was hired as Mozilla’s CEO. Almost as soon as he achieved the highest position in the company he helped found, the fact that he had donated $1,000 to the Prop 8 campaign was trotted out by bitter gay activists again. OKcupid got involved by asking their users to log onto their website using any browser other than Firefox. The message was sent: Eich is an anti-gay hatemonger, and we need to ruin him!

Just a few days ago, Eich was pressured to resign as Mozilla CEO. He apologized for having hurt anyone but the apology mattered none.

Before I get into my issues here, know that I am fully aware that this is not a matter of First Amendment rights. Nothing that happened is a violation of Eich’s rights. Everyone involved was exercising their rights to free speech. That is not what is wrong here.

What is wrong is this episode is setting a dangerous new precedent. This is the new face of the mob mentality that has begun to take over in American politics. Lists of political donations and firearms license holders are being published in the press by so-called journalists who feel they have an obligation to shine a light on a perceived wrong in society. The fallout is things like this – people being singled out, their lives torn apart because one small group decided that they were doing something they felt was wrong.

It is no secret that I don’t have much love for Arizona representative Kyrsten Sinema. Whereas I once had a couple of things to agree with her on, thanks to her followers I cannot even hold onto that anymore. A couple of years ago, I engaged several of her most ardent followers in a “debate” (I do use that word rather lightly) about Second Amendment rights and whether human beings have a natural right to defend themselves. As is always the case with hard-left liberals, it was very heated on their end with a lot of name-calling and almost no factual offerings while I tried to be rational and reasonable. One of them started taking the personal information on my Facebook page and posting it on the thread, making fun of me for it. Then it came out that I’m an EMT working in a 911 system in their areas.

Oh, that was it. Multiple people had absolute meltdowns. How could I possibly believe we have a right to carry guns when I’m responsible for treating people who have been shot? How could I believe that we should defend ourselves when I see the consequences of those beliefs on the streets? Here’s a sampling of the comments made:

“Your license to practice as an EMT should be revoked! You are violent and angry and I hate you and everything you stand for!”

“I’m going to write a letter to the state health department about you, Mel Maguire! You’re a disgrace to your profession and you should never be allowed to help people ever again!”

“If you ever come to my house, I won’t let you in! Don’t you ever answer my 911 call!”

And these are some of the nicer comments made. Kyrsten never deleted anyone’s comments, never stood up for me as a public servant, and never bothered to tell people to dial it down. Her silence said a lot about where her stance was. I didn’t have the heart to tell any of these people that the overwhelming majority of police, fire, and EMS workers are on the right side of the political spectrum. Their reactive comments, though, honestly scared me. They still scare me – now more so thanks to what was done to Brendan Eich. Nobody deserves to lose their livelihood simply because a few disagree with their politics.

If a small but vocal group of angry people can end a man’s career with the company he founded based on a technology he wrote (JavaScript), it does not bode well for the rest of society. That anger can and will be turned on others. It is magnified many times over when those in power do nothing to calm that sentiment. Don’t hold your breath for a phone call from President Obama apologizing for the hate that Eich experienced. Don’t plan on a DOJ investigation into whether his civil rights were violated. The press has said little about the fact that Eich’s professional image was irreparably damaged by this episode.

His donation and personal beliefs about marriage are not anti-gay. He simply doesn’t believe in gay marriage. That does not equate to hatred, and I’m tired of hearing people make that parallel. We can’t get the press to call out Al Sharpton for his blatant and wanton racism, but you can be damn sure they’ll attack anyone who is not 100% supportive of gay everything.

Eich’s personal beliefs were never brought into his workplace. He never refused to hire gay people. In fact, Mozilla has gay-friendly workplace policies as far as I know. If he never brought his personal ideas into his office, then nobody else should have. The way he was forced out of his own company, you’d think he’d been caught on camera drowning puppies or something. He wasn’t a member of the KKK. He just doesn’t believe in gay marriage. I fail to understand why that is grounds for a smear campaign aimed at destroying him both personally and professionally.

Just because the First Amendment allows you to do that to a person does not make it right. The fact that you don’t agree with him doesn’t make him intolerant and you a saint. Every single person who allowed this or supported it should be deeply ashamed. You are the living proof that those who scream for others to be more tolerant are the most intolerant among us.