Something a lot of people don’t seem to be discussing is the merits of the actual rule requiring MSNBC/NBC employees to get approval before making political donations, and the further extreme stance of CNN barring it’s employees from the act. To me this is something that goes against the fundamental Constitutional right of Americans to engage in the political process.
These type of policies are not limited to the media though. Another common place to find them is in local government. From police to firefighters to regular city workers, countless municipalities across the country have policies in place barring employees from donating or partaking in the political process. Even things like having a candidates sign in your yard can be grounds for dismissal.
Yesterday Senator Bernie Sanders released a strongly worded statement supporting Olbermann. You can read the whole thing here, but the key part I want to bring up is here:
“It is outrageous that General Electric/MSNBC would suspend Keith Olbermann for exercising his constitutional rights to contribute to a candidate of his choice. This is a real threat to political discourse in America and will have a chilling impact on every commentator for MSNBC.
I agree 110% that barring employees is a threat to our political discourse. We now live in a time where corporations can funnel secret cash to candidates, but the people who work for them don’t have the same right.
What Sen. Sanders should do is introduce legislation making the barring of political activity by any company illegal. Employers shouldn’t have the ability to erode our rights as Americans through policy. I believe this kind of legislation would also show us where the GOP really stands. They claim to be the “Constitution” party, but will they let our most basic right trump their friends of big business? That’s a question that can only be answered through actual action and I feel Bernie is the man to get that action moving.
Our political discourse is no longer about democracy. Instead we now face an auction and the Olbermann incident has shown another hidden way to silence the voice of the people. Americans as a whole, despite political beliefs, should all rally together behind changing this dangerous course. If we don’t, the one that loses is America and the basic principal she was founded on; “we the people”.