Editors' note: Guest blogger Allison Bricker works as a Senior Political Analyst for an Indiana public opinion and research company, and has a lifelong love affair with all things political. She currently manages her own blog, Political-Soapbox.
While I believe in the principle that one's employment should be solely based on their ability to fulfill the job requirements of their potential or current position, I disagree on the method embraced by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of attaining this parity amongst individuals. That said, and in the interest of truly attaining equality amongst all human beings, I present my solution to the current stalemate over ENDA...
Instead of lobbying the Federal Government to force all private companies and individuals into a legislative mandate for equality, let us instead consider the strict constructionist view of our Constitution, guided by the Founder's vision of Federalism as stated in the 10th Amendment. Let us further call for the Federal Government to fulfill their oath of office to uphold the Constitution; most specifically to the "Promotion of the General Welfare" clause, vis-à-vis their current internal equal employment hiring policies.
While it is a common misnomer that this country is a "democracy," which is merely tyranny of the majority, our nation was purposely constructed as a republic to ensure the protection of any and all political or demographic minorities. Therefore, governments instituted may not deny the benefits and privilege of an individual's natural rights nor the benefits of citizenship granted civilly by governments.
Precisely because of our minority status, our government is mandated to equality by this core structure of a republic. Furthermore, the cornerstones of federalism were buttressed by the 14th Amendment, which extended the prohibition against tyranny of a majority to all state governments in addition to the Federal government.
Using this actuality, we should focus our efforts at lobbying Congressional members who truly believe in equality as a principle and not as a pandering tactic to be used as re-election strategy. We should petition these members of Congress for a redress of our grievances. That being, since the Federal government has already acknowledged their duty to uphold this federalist principle in the form of equal employment opportunity mandates for all civilian positions within the government it is then necessary to add sexual-orientation and gender identity to the scope of federal equal employment policies, because these too are real demographic minorities. Otherwise, the Federal government's own hiring practices violate the aforementioned tenants of equal protection under the law. This in turn also then applies to any businesses that are contractors/sub-contractors for public-sector government contracts.
In effect, we use the market and pursuit of capitalistic profit to integrate ourselves into the private sector, with no direct coercion upon any private entity. Quite simply, if these private companies wish to continue to receive business from the government then they must adhere to the expanded tenants of internal Federal EEO practices, which is already required of them. However if these business owners are so ridiculously entrenched with their short-sighted bigotry and cannot set their hatred aside, they are free to give up their government contracts and return to the market, minus all revenue generated from their previous public-sector contracts. Secondly, this would then open the door for a business interested in contracting with the government to increase profits simply by expanding their EEOC policy.
Competition breeds advancement not only in technological aspects but also and more importantly, competition refocuses business priorities in favor of hiring employees solely based on their ability to perform their job in order for the business to gain the most efficient competitive advantage over another company. Furthermore, it goes without saying that if one company surrendered its government contracts due to entrenched bigotry, a new more forward thinking business would be there to take the bigots place. By proxy this then gives cause for employers to hire us and look past any of their potential bigotry should we qualify for a position within their company. Additionally, research has shown repeatedly that once individuals outside of our community get to know us and form professional/personal relationships with us, the walls of intolerance and bigotry come tumbling down.
Next, we then should begin lobbying state and county governments to institute the same expansions within their EEOC policies as they too operate in the public sphere for all citizens and are not privately held businesses. Again, the same requirement of contractor and sub-contractor subordination applies as they already do now with the approval process of becoming a vendor for local governments.
As we gain experience and develop relationships, integration into the larger job market will become easier and easier, until it is no longer an issue. This is a result at least as good if not better than current legislatively enforced mandates, which come with the baggage of internalized resentment and bigotry, which is always the by-product of coercion.
The victory comes through understanding and empathy - not coercion. More importantly, equality is attainable and can be realized through the historically Constitutional principle that our government was instituted to be a government for all people without moral or class distinctions.
Moreover, utilizing this method of "willing enlightenment" from the government "promoting the general welfare" by representing all of her people, we critically wound the seeds of resentment that is often a reaction of one group using government to coerce an unwilling group to accept another.
Just something to think about as the rhetoric continues to grow more divisive, now from three sides; the right wing, the old wing of the gay community, and the rest of the LGBT community, because this surely is not closer to equality, nor is it towards a more perfect union.