Saturday, December 8, 2007

All that is necessary...

...for the triumph of evil, is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke.

People don't even know if the quote really belongs to Burke. It might. Might not. Sounds like him though. His tombstone says, "I wish to be a member of parliament to have my share of doing good and resisting evil". He supported the United States and made friends, only to lose them when he protested the French Revolution. Churchill said it was because Burke saw good in the American Revolution, while at the same time he saw the twin evils of the French monarchy AND mob-rule. One was not necessarily better than the other.

The linchpin was Washington. For lack of a Washington, the Revolution failed. They had good men who started something and failed to follow-through. Washington knew what to do, when, how to do it, and when the war was over, he gave the authority back. Maybe it was personal, but at the end of the day he could separate the public and personal, while Robespierre and Saint-Just did a reactionary power grab.

I thought about Burke while I did this thing at another store. It wasn't good at the beginning, and grew worse.

The good hesitated, while the bad took advantage. And I--to my shame--like Aral Vorkosigan said, was one of those who pretended not to see. I've always been a neutral party. But by doing nothing I contributed to something bad. Like Saint-Just, I held on to the bricks while the wall cracked around me.

I should have recommended replacement at the beginning, but I second guessed myself. Sometimes you get so wound up in a person's personality--and people don't always have the best personalities--that you can't get past the outer layer. Unfortunately this person's outer layer went all the way down.

There are only three weeks left in the season, and while they're important weeks, we lost a bunch of people who've worked with us for years, and alienated the ones who've stuck it out. I know they're not my people, but today when I finally got a good hard look at what this woman has been doing to her team--it sickened me. It's a crappy, low-paying job that comes and goes like Brigadoon. No person should submit to abuse to buy their kid a present.

There's a reason the Navy calls clean-up "damage control". I'm just damned glad nothing exploded.

2 comments:

Alice Audrey said...

Don't beat yourself up too much over what went wrong, but do keep what you've learned in mind for the future. It's way too easy to let a bad experience fester.

When people ask that question about what you would change in your life if you had to live it over again I'd change moments like this one, where with a little more knowledge - such as her bad personality wasn't just on the surface - and a bit more initiative I could make a positive change.

jodi said...

...sometimes I think that's the trouble with being neutral. You want so much to not be one or the other, you screw yourself by not having the convicitions of your beliefs. It was a damned ugly situation, but I'm hoping we can finish it out today. You can't change the past, but you can fix the future. :)