Monday, October 23, 2017

The Orwellian language of inclusive corporate policy

So my employer was recently bought by a very large corporation.  One of the new perqs I enjoy *cough* is regular news e-mails from corporate.  A lot of it's just press releases or discussion of proxy fights, but sometimes they throw in something cultural.

All well and good, but it's usually about drumming up interest in one of their "employee resource groups," which interests me for almost two seconds before I realize there's no news there.

To be fair, they don't insist on joining any of these groups.  Some of the our-plant-only committees are always eager for fresh blood, but you can say no to their face and there are no repercussions.  I've heard of other large companies that take a dim view of people who hesitate too long before joining their more progressive employee groups, and I don't see that happening here.

Which is good, because the only groups are for veterans, professional women, Hispanics, and homosexuals.

I only need to point out that I don't really need to point out how odd this juxtaposition is.  I'm also a little surprised there are only four, but that's another matter.

Suffice it to say I'm not interested in any of them because I don't belong and I'm not much of a "join to cheerlead" type.

But then I saw one of these e-mails go out and while explaining how these groups are critical to our vitality as a company, they presented the statistic that 50.2% of employees' children are diverse.

What?  "Diverse" is a quantifiable thing that an individual person can be?

Uh, no, it's not.  You might say the group comprised of all employees' children is diverse, but I am suspicious of whatever survey they did that enabled them to calculate that 502 out of every thousand children raised by my coworkers wears some kind of "diversity" badge.

And when it's over half, aren't we getting to the point that whatever makes them distinctive from the traditional white male workforce no longer qualifies as a diversifying characteristic?  If they were all Hispanic lesbians, the group wouldn't be diverse at all.

For that matter, what are these criteria they're using?  50.2% might just be how many of the children we're talking about are girls. Not saying that doesn't count, but it is mundane.

My sneaking suspicion is that, if they're not just using the number of girls as a shortcut around statistical sampling, they're looking at race and making sure we know they mean homosexuals too when they say "diversity," so we have one more thing to look for in our own children, even if they're too young to know how they're oriented or what claiming to know really means.

I wonder what the veterans group thinks about that.

Actually, I have more than a sneaking suspicion.  Some of the more recent postings have some nice, neutral jabber about how inclusiveness helps make sure ideas and perspectives we might not otherwise consider get brought to the table, as if this were an elementary school where that was a lesson that needed to be taught and was willing to be learned; but just so you know what they mean, the postings are all decorated in rainbows.

Can't just put the bullhorn down once so we can give your intentions the benefit of the doubt for a second, can you?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The cost of social programs

Half a century ago, give or take, the Second Vatican Council normalized the use of the vernacular language in Mass for the first time in centuries in the Latin church.  This was accepted, if not always happily, but many were so excited about that and the other rumored changes that we saw abuses on the level of priests in seminary switching to street clothes and taking girlfriends because "celibacy will be out with Vatican 2."

More recently, the order of the mass was retranslated into English because the previous "dynamic equivalence" attempt had proven itself to have some weaknesses that led to some liturgical abuses and other pastoral problems beyond what seminarians were getting desensitized to.

This was less accepted, by the argument that the fifty-year-old translations were deep-set and had become too familiar to change; but mostly because the people who benefited from or caused these abuses and problems did not want to give it up.

And so, I see the same thing on a much shorter time scale with the health care debate.

Lots of hope about finally bringing all the uninsured masses in from the cold, and lots of drowning out of concerns from people who realized the financial numbers weren't that solid, and it was going to help some people who needed it but only at the expense of other people who belonged to the demographic that already has the lion's share of the tax burden, and that there were some legal irregularities that portended nothing good.

But, Obamacare was pushed through with suspicious ease, and none of the criticisms have proven false.

What do we hear, though?  "We can't repeal it!  Trumpcare will hurt the weakest amongst us!  Your pie in the sky constitutional objections are pure selfishness!"

Well, there were evils attached to it, and both before and after it was signed into law, people suspected Obamacare was designed to fail so the sense of emergency would allow a radical expansion of government control over the health industry and people's well-being.

"Look at how much it would hurt...oh, people over 60!"

Never mind how much it's already hurting, oh, employed middle class people in their 30s and 40s...and would hurt 20somethings if they didn't strategically opt to take the penalty--which they have done, since the loophole was big and obvious enough to fly the Moon through, to the insolvency of Obamacare.  

What's funny is whenever a bill to dismantle or replace Obamacare gets introduced, the talking heads on cable TV and on newsprint start talking about how Trump has already taken away health care for various demographics. Chicken little much?

Look at what you achieved in your year fighting for Obamacare!  All you had to do was pass a black-box law, corrupt the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and rape the largest demographic in the country.  What could go wrong?

"You're metaphorically taller than the rest of us, so you should recognize your obligation to get stuff off the highest shelves for us, even if you don't recognize our entitlement to them!"

Who's this 'us' you're claiming to be a part of, Hollywood?  We're taller than some but we're not the tallest, and we sure as hell aren't taller than you are.  There are just more of us middle classers for you to nominate to carry the burden of hastily developed social programs, so it will just take longer for a different crisis to emerge when you run out of our money.  Surely you realize that's the real reason we're the ones expected to foot the bill for...well, everything.  And yes, I caught that bit where you insinuated that we owe payment because we can make a payment, and you have a rightful claim on behalf of the people who couldn't make a payment--and thus, your behalfism forgives you of any obligation you yourself have for having bank accounts larger than my house.  

Nice try, but false.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

No doubting their priorities anymore

Remember when certain parties and entities used to tug at our heartstrings after a tragedy like Las Vegas in order to motivate us to go along with their political agenda--or better yet, get motivated to do some grassroots activism on your own?

Oh, the shift started at least as far back as the Orlando shooting.  I was seeing in social media hashtags that expressed vulgar opposition to the NRA and nothing about the shooter, but there was still sympathy for the victims mixed in.  Of course, the shooter was a Muslim, so any motivations related to that were off limits, but they spent very little time speculating about how he may have been more mentally ill and less a fitting representative of Islam.  Not much of a fig leaf.

Five to one the next terrorist attack they can't write off as simply "workplace violence" they attribute to the neologism "white Muslim."

But back to Vegas.  The blood was still wet on the ground when people jumped on the bandwagon faster than they took a knee to fill the vacuum of Colin Kaepernick.

I've been seeing blurbs since day one criticizing Trump for expressing sympathy instead of banning guns.  Really?  If you can't even see the humanity in the victims--I'll let the humanity in your political opponents slide for the nonce--clearly enough to add even a drop of compassion for the victims and their families into the mix, is there anything about the victims that motivates you at all?  Anything?
I saw one tweet express that sentiment in 25 characters.  That left 115 to say something human instead of merely political.  There's a time and a place for focusing on the message, sure, but the bodies in the street were still warm; can we at least talk about that and be humane for a minute?

This is why you get knee-jerk slacktivism like celebrities posting selfies and issuing platitudes that could have been written by a kindergartner but then not doing anything to actually fix a problem--no, the real work is for someone else.  The real work isn't even for the mediocre unemployed athletes who touched off the whole thing and now have enough time on their hands as well as money to make a difference.