Right Not to be Offended

Emily Yoffe gets a letter from a Republican “on the Board of a DC-based non-profit that provides social services to low-income DC residents” who is offended when other members of said Board are critical of Republicans, presumably under the assumption that anyone on said Board must be a Democrat.

Yoffe advises that Frustrated Republican “talk to the the chairperson and ask that he or she clarify at the beginning of the next meeting that personal political views are distracting and not appropriate to the issues you’re all there to work on.” Glenn Reynolds agrees and adds, “Hey, maybe go whole hog: Push back, act offended, and threaten litigation. It’s worked for the lefties!”

Now, it may well be the Board chair should address the issue if it’s distracting from getting work done.  Otherwise, I’m not sure why Frustrated Republican has any especial right not to be frustrated.  Why does having chosen to surround oneself with people likely to be of a certain political persuasion confer the right to stifle their right to express themselves?  Indeed, a major perk of being on a non-profit board is being surrounded by people passionate about the issues said non-profit works on and having frank dialogue.   Either engage in the conversation and push back, learn to deal with the fact that others disagree, or go find a different board to sit on.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steve Plunk says:

    Being a part of many local committees and commissions (and chair a few times) I have seen how bringing politics of this nature to the meeting can take things off track. It’s hard enough to actually accomplish something with local boards without such distractions. Turning a meeting about road priorities or school bonds into a debate over Bush’s IQ or Obama’s aura makes it impossible to get things done.