Monday, July 14, 2008

Anniversary brings on a rant.

More Saturn-related business, some Virgo too.

Monday 14 July. That date tinkles a bell in my memory. On Monday 14 July 1975 I started a job which would shape my career for the remainder of my working life. I joined the UK civil service to work in what were then called The Industrial Tribunals. The title was later amended to 'The Employment Tribunals'. It may seem odd that I would remember the date, but for some reason it has always remained in my memory.

I joined the civil service as a Clerical Officer, initially acting as tribunal clerk where my duties included explaining procedure to the parties, sitting in the tribunal hearings, keeping records, swearing in witnesses and assisting the chairman and tribunal members. After a few years I progressed to Executive Officer and managed the Listing Section, where I and 7 staff had the hairy job of ensuring that parties, witnesses and their representatives all turned up at the right place at the right time, and that there was a tribunal (chairman/judge and two lay members) booked to hear their cases. Sounds easy when I type it, but believe me, the job of listing manager was the least envied of all, but I've always enjoyed a challenge! (Aries Moon, with a lot of help from Mercury in Capricorn).

The tribunals deal with cases of unfair dismissal, breach of contract, discrimination on the grounds of sex and race, equal pay claims, redundancy pay claims, and a variety of minor matters. Hearings could last for hours, days or weeks. It was all very Saturnian, but it also satisfied my Aquarian (power to the people) nature. The tribunal chairmen, lawyers of long experience had my total respect, every one of them. Lawyers often come in for much derision, not from me, not ever, unless they go into politics! I worked with some of the best.

The above thoughts came to mind, not only because of that anniversary date, but also because of what I read on Saturday at No Quarter about Barack Obama's fund raising event of the previous evening. (SEE HERE). Comedian, Bernie Mac performed there, it is reported that he told several sexist jokes, very poor taste at such an event. Now, I realise that tribunals and employment law in general, whether in the UK or USA have no connection at all with what comedians choose to use in their acts, but I do believe that the spirit of the discrimination laws, values inherent in them, both here and in the UK, translate very easily into areas other than employment, and it ought to be incumbent upon one who fancies himself as President of the United States to ensure that, at least in his public life, he seeks to uphold the spirit of the law.

A political fund raising event is no place to be telling tasteless sexist jokes, which fly against all aims of anti-discrimination legislation. Barack Obama should have exercised a little more judgment and control over the event. It's not a matter of law, it's a matter of class, and good taste - as in Virgo. He did apparently gently chide the comedian, but then immediately took back his criticism by adding he was "just messing with you".

I wonder what would be the result if a candidate held a fund raiser and a comedian there told crude racist jokes. Not much doubt, is there? I notice this morning that someone else feels equally angry - a new post at No Quarter, written by "Ani":
"Women get crapped on; Obama laughs along". The author also points out other examples of comedians' disrespect. If a passing reader has skimmed through my own post, please - go read this one.

I see what happened at Obama's fund raising event as further evidence, if any were needed, of his double standards, poor judgment and lack of calibre necessary to do the job of POTUS.


Wisewebwoman said...

I love reading about your journey, T. Most interesting!
As to BO, I was not surprised by this. He turned such a blind eye to the media treatment of HRC, plus his comments on abortion, etc., show me he's got some serious women issues. A man with two daughters, yet.

Twilight said...

Yes, it's becoming clearer as time passes, WWW.

I suppose it's not surprising though, his early life was so fragmented, and his mother didn't seem to provide the stability most kids experience.

Although it's all very understandable, it's still not good for a POTUS to have these kinds of issues, IMO.