Funny how life seems so easy and obvious in hindsight. Sports fans know the right plays after the game is over. Stock investors are certain about the best deals last year. WOKE culture looks backward and shames those who supported slavery or the traditional family. These moral certitudes appear “no brainers” to most today.
Our generation faces many challenges. Is abortion akin to taking human life? Is the procedure medical murder of a living human being? How about eating a steer, pig or drinking milk from a cow? Do birds, fish and other animals we consume have feelings? Will future generations look back and call us barbaric?
Rush Limbaugh lost his battle with cancer yesterday. Millions of conservatives consider him a national hero. The political Left finds him despicable. Rolling Stone wrote:
Over three decades on the national airwaves, Limbaugh promoted profoundly offensive ideas, often referring to feminists as “feminazis”; long calling AIDS “the Rock Hudson disease”; and once observing that the NFL “looks like a game between the Bloods and the Crips without any weapons.” Following his cancer diagnosis, he received the presidential medal of freedom from Donald Trump during the 2020 State of the Union, in recognition of what Trump called Limbaugh’s “tireless devotion to our country.”
Rush was born and raised in Missouri of the 1950s. Coming from this heartland Christian background, his parents, teachers and religious figures taught him to abhor homosexuality. Gay lifestyle was a sin. Jews felt this way and so did Muslims. It seems the entire world opposed homosexuality in the 50s. Rush also matured in America that harbored Jim Crow, devastating racial prejudice, as well as discriminatory beliefs oppressing women.
The Founders of America lived when slavery was acceptable. Rush lived when bashing gays was common. When HIV/AIDS broke out in the 1980s, people like Rush considered the virus/disease to be a sign from God. Homosexuals defied the “rule of God” — they were living in sin and God was punishing them.
President Barack Obama announced in 2009 he had evolved to accept gay marriage. President Bill Clinton was disturbed about discrimination but could only author a “don’t ask, don’t tell” national policy. How tragic for millions of human beings trapped in a morally-confused America. Like hunted Jews in Hitler’s Germany, gay Americans hid in shadows praying that our democratic Republic would soon extend the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
How must it have been to be the Last Slave in America? Women across America applauded the need to wear slippers due to all the glass ceilings breaking with the inauguration of Vice President Kamala Harris January 20, 2021. They anxiously await the first female president.
Rush Limbaugh wrongly mocked dying gay people. He’ll be remembered and ridiculed like those who spit on Jesus as he staggered dragging a heavy cross. Had you been a witness on streets 2,000 years ago, would you have had the courage to shun the mob?
The 21st Century Moral Challenge
Ending cannabis (marijuana) criminalization is on the minds of policy makers today. Biden and Harris promise reform. The past twenty years have continued a “don’t ask, don’t tell” cannabis policy. California was the first state in the nation to break the medical use barrier in 1996. People voted to end bigotry. Hawai’i, on the other hand, became the initial state where the legislature evolved medical cannabis laws. Unfortunately, policy in both states has remained quite rudimentary.
If we applied Hawaii’s medical cannabis framework to the gay community, a homosexual couple would be legal in their home, but could be rejected if they sought employment. Hawai’i and California both made cannabis legal — kind of.
In 2015, Hawaii’s legislature amended “329” laws to provide protection against discrimination in congregate housing and education surroundings. Again, using homosexuality as an analogy, a gay couple would be protected to live as they please in their home, an apartment or when attending school, yet still after 15 years, they weren’t guaranteed a lack of discrimination if they sought employment. A medical cannabis patient can live, just not make a living.
Hawaiian Electric CEO & President Constance Hee Lau and her crew fired me for being a medical cannabis patient. I suffer a disability and require long-term medication for my severe chronic pain. Connie treated me as Rush mocked gays — like a second-class citizen of sin.
Connie’s company needed programming and database management skills, and hired me as a consultant. My manager and team loved my personality and professional demeanor. We had a perfect fit. We were winning for Hawaiian Electric and ratepayers in the state. Unfortunately, my performance was too good. The company offered me a permanent position.
Hi Scott, I personally never saw any evidence of you being impaired. Quite the contrary in fact. I would say sharp, expedient, professional, technical, humble, the whole package really. But I did notice you had a limp, so I suspected you were in pain, but you never mentioned anything, and I never bothered to ask, our conversations were always about getting things done, and you delivered in times when we had to deliver and get things done.
Marijuana is a complex issue, often misunderstood, has been known to relieve pain, and when used correctly does not impair.
HR rushed me through onboarding paperwork. Final step was pre-employment drug screen. As a seasoned medical patient, I was careful. Checked company Code of Conduct (below). Appeared to be in compliance. To be sure, specifically asked my assigned HR associate. Said I would be fine.
Why wouldn’t I be fine? This is progressive aloha Hawai’i. The state was a national leader on medical cannabis. In my 20-year history, no employer has been concerned about my medical necessities. I serve as a non-safety sensitive IT employee and sit in a backroom working at a computer terminal 50 hours per week. The nation agrees we don’t want safety sensitive employees, such as vehicle or truck drivers, heavy-machine operators, or those who work with hazardous chemicals intoxicated on pain killers — of any kind.
I wasn’t fine though. The HR rep misled and deceived me. Connie Lau’s policy is outdated, unclear and confusing. The day HR director Shana Buco fired me was the first day she disclosed the company had a “drug-free” workplace policy. Not in writing though. She’s told me she’s never seen anything on paper.
“Drug-free” workplace policy is acceptable to me. Doesn’t prohibit an employee from using medical cannabis at home. The focus of “drug-free” workplace policy is abuse. Never medicated prior to or during work. My prescription calls for use as needed before bed so I reduce pain and sleep deeply. My job is rigorous and intellectually demanding. I take my work seriously.
Privilege and Prejudice
I believed in the competence and compassion of CEO Constance Hee Lau. Many claim she’s remarkable. Her family persevered to send her to prestigious Punahou School. Barack Obama attended the famed private academy as well. This vaulted Connie to Yale University, where she was accepted to the second class of undergraduate women in school history (1970).
On September 15, 1969, Amy Solomon became the first female to register for first year classes. President Brewster made his opening address to the first freshperson class at Yale to include women. The “two things most obviously on everyone’s minds on this opening day are women and campus violence.” He said he’s “very much for the former and very much against the latter.”
What a pioneer. This privileged youngster earned a coveted spot in one of America’s finest universities. Just years earlier, women suffered a discriminatory glass door to this private world of academia and opportunity. Had Yale president, Kingman Brewster, Jr. been similar to Rush Limbaugh, Connie would not have been admitted.
One man opened a single door of opportunity and changed Connie’s life trajectory!
Connie did not pay it forward for people like me. There are some 30,000 suffering human beings on island who are not welcome at Hawaiian Electric. Under Connie’s governance, any of these employees could be hired if they substitute an opioid medication for cannabis. Not sure how this makes sense to a Yale graduate. Opioids have led to the overdose death of some 500,000 Americans and destroyed countless families. Cannabis does not.
Rush has departed this life, and his legacy is soiled due to his cruel bigotry and mockery of gays. Connie and her executives denigrate medical cannabis patients. The intent of “drug-free” workplace policies is to nurture an employment setting where all employees adhere to a program of protocols and activities designed to provide a safe workplace, discourage alcohol and drug abuse, and encourage treatment, recovery and the return to work of those employees with such abuse problems. I was honest with Hawaiian Electric and they kicked me out forever.
Change had to happen because the company’s leaders, both in the executive ranks and at the board level, were willing to give women a chance, willing to create a level playing field.
Those known for their unthinking devotion to Limbaugh’s ideology have been labeled “ditto-heads,” and Rush learned to take being hated as a measure of success. As Hawaii’s most powerful and highest-paid woman executive ($5.8 million in 2019), Connie announced she’s more comfortable facing criticism. Her devoted “pakalolo-heads” in the governor’s mansion and halls of the legislature view medical cannabis patients as lepers “with a vice” who preferably belong isolated on the island of Moloka’i.
Connie reminds listeners when she joined Hawaiian Electric Companies 36 years ago, there were no women executives. She claims the doors of social justice opened because company leaders, both in executive ranks and board level, were willing to give women a chance and create a level playing field.
From Connie’s perspective, it’s pretty straightforward, and frankly all that women have asked for: a level playing field. She believes if you have that level playing field, then those women who have the talent and desire to get to the top can do so.
Yes, Connie. It’s straightforward for medical cannabis patients as well. We simply request a level playing field. Maybe I was Connie’s first legal medical cannabis patient. I demonstrated both the talent and desire to get to the top. Cruelly, the women of Hawaiian Electric were not willing to level the playing field; nor were they willing to give medical cannabis patients a chance. Can I be the Last Person punished for medical cannabis?
Connie, do you wish to be remembered as remarkable or ridiculed like Rush?
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