A new breed of radical defiance has roared to life in California. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it’s now a common practice for businesses in the area to become politically engaged by paying their employees to join protests.
The left has brushed off accusations of a paid resistance movement for years. Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said during February’s Political Action Conference that paid protesters: “All share one thing in common: They’re angry, they’re militant and they’re willing to engage in criminal acts to get what they want.”
Elite Bay Area firms now offer employees paid time off for political and civic duties. Protesting, voting, and running for office are encouraged. While the policies are not explicitly anti-Trump, the bulk of people taking time off work to march in the streets are young Democrats.
“Activism and civic engagement are on the rise, and people sometimes have to choose between their jobs and focusing on their careers and doing something they’re passionate about,” said Amna Pervez, director of recruiting and retention for data-management firm Fauna. “We should not only allow but encourage, members of our team to do that without worrying that they’re risking their career. We want our employees to participate in the political process. This is important.”
Most of the companies with Fauna’s mindset are small, niche businesses with a liberal workforce.
The left prefers to pretend that the raucous anti-Trump protests roiling the country are the result of pure, unadulterated hatred for the president. It’s deeply embarrassing to admit that the agitators are really paid actors who would have been as comfortable lobbying for President Trump as against him.
“Democracy is a participatory institution; it’s not just something that takes place every four years when you have a candidate in a race,” said Adam Kleinberg, CEO of San Francisco marketing firm Traction. The company allows employees to take two paid “Days of Action” per year.
“I was certainly motivated because I think Trump is a man with dangerous ideas and low moral character, but I also didn’t want to be a hypocrite and prevent people from expressing whatever political views they may hold,” he said. “Through organized protest, citizens have the ability to apply pressure when laws or government bodies are not really applying the will of the people to the legislation they put forth.”
It’s not really a “protest” if attendees are being paid. The stereotypical California actor is desperate for gigs. The fact that millennials are willing to accept money for marching through the streets isn’t a reflection on Trump’s popularity. A sour bunch of radicals on the left are trying to create a false narrative.
“People were wishing that I was dropped off in an (Islamic State) territory, calling me an idiotic libtard, candy-ass, saying they hope we’ll go out of business. Really nasty stuff,” Kleinberg told the Chronicle when asked how Traction’s new policy was received. “We’re in marketing, so we talk all the time about making an emotional connection with people. And once we announced (the policy change) it became clear that we struck a powder keg.”
Plumping a protest with a staff of paid agitators is a mockery of real civic engagement. Kleinberg’s company is being criticized because he’s toying with serious matters. If his employees choose to become engaged with a political movement it should be done on their own time.
“It’s not sufficient anymore to say we’re a profit engine and we’re making money and screw everything else. It’s part of our responsibility to be engaged, to be active,” said William Morgan, CEO, and founder of cloud infrastructure startup Buoyant. “We as individuals, we as companies exist in an ecosystem. We’re only here because there’s this environment around us. It can’t just be a one-way relationship.”