Hostile Work Places: A Traditional Value
Below is a link to an article in the Washington Post, March 7, 2021, about how Andrew Cuomo and his “aggressive style” is said to have created a hostile work environment that encompassed charges of sexual harassment. Here is one quote from one of Cuomo’s aides, Peter Ajemian:
“This did not happen,” he said. “Karen Hinton is a known antagonist of the Governor’s who is attempting to take advantage of this moment to score cheap points with made up allegations from 21 years ago.”
Most people accept the implication that what Cuomo did was something of an aberration whereas Ajemian’s quote reveals that this was not the case, that the hostile work environment Cuomo embraced was, in fact, quite normal given how we Americans think about and do politics.
That Karen Hinton was “a known antagonist of the Governor” who sought “to score cheap points with made up allegations” from a long time ago is course a good description of how Americans think about and do politics. Antagonism is the life-blood of American politics, and perhaps of any politics. And, of course, it is to be expected, as Ajemian’s quote implies. In other words, the hostility that Cuomo is said to have embraced is anything but aberrational. Hostility is what antagonism begets, always and everywhere.
This is the problem with the arguments that what is needed is a return to “traditional values” in order to solve the problem of hostile work environments. It is precisely those values that lead to, that facilitate the creation of such work places. What are needed are non-traditional values, new or different values, if the phenomenon like hostile work places are to disappear or be reformed.