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Posts Tagged ‘Ash Lawn-Highland’

Author’s note: Go back and read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t done so yet.

So, to take up where we left off, after my disappointment with the Connaughton Campaign, my work at Cooper & Secrest continued.  However, I soon spoke to the head supervisor about working for a different part of the firm.  After all, as I stated earlier, there are many different tasking in polling besides being a pollster.  As a conservative, I couldn’t stand badmouthing conservative candidates to hapless voters.  My supervisor replied that he would look into the matter and get back in touch with me.  As a side note, although I didn’t talk to the head supervisor much, I always felt that he was a decent fellow and held out a small hope for some better future.

Several weeks later, the supervisor stopped me in the office.  The news he gave me was very disheartening. After conversing with Alan Secrest, the president of the polling firm, about my inquiry, he told me that they were thinking about firing me.  Now it may surprise you to know that I was a pretty good pollster.  Yes, I was “working for the enemy”, but I still had a duty to do the job for which I was paid.  However, they were not considering getting rid of me for my job performance, but for my political views.  After all, how could a Republican be trusted in a Democratic polling firm?  Never mind the fact that I had been working there for about a year without incident, diligently doing the labor.  For some reason, the final words of our conversation are still stuck in my mind.  “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Once I heard that news, I figured my days were numbered.  While I anxiously continued to search for political employment, I got a job at Ash Lawn-Highland, the former home of President James Monroe.  By comparison to Cooper & Secrest, that work was very engaging.  Not only did I get to learn all sorts of interesting information about our fifth President, but also, as a tour guide, I had the opportunity to teach others about him.  I wish some of our leaders today would take heed of the wisdom and philosophy of Monroe.  And I haven’t even mentioned my co-workers.  They were a mixed assortment of great folks who seemed to enjoy the work as much as I did.  But to return to our main tale, all the while, I continued to work at Cooper.

A month or so after getting this new job, one of my other supervisors, a man by the name of Jimmy, starting routinely harassing me after discovering my political leanings.  They weren’t stereotypical partisan banter, but extremely hateful.  For example, while walking through the office, he would stop at my station as say things like, “Where is the hood for your Klan outfit?” and “Been to any Nazi rallies lately?” He made my already bad situation far worse.  In retrospect, I should have reported his behavior to the head supervisor, should have tried to get him fired.  Maybe I should have even sued Cooper & Secrest for allowing his malicious conduct.  Instead I took the coward’s path of shutting my mouth and trying vainly to pretend it didn’t happen.  It didn’t help.  Unfortunately, if you let someone degrade you in such a fashion once, they won’t ever stop.  At first, I tried my best to avoid him.  Once that tactic failed, I just stopped coming in to work at all.  I couldn’t deal with it, couldn’t handle this new level of hell.

Unfortunately, my work at Ash Lawn-Highland didn’t offer either enough hours or sufficient pay to allow me to live in Charlottesville once I left Cooper.  Sadly, I trekked back across the mountain, to my hometown of Harrisonburg, desperately looking to put my Cooper & Secrest days behind me.  As I might have stated earlier, the reason I blotted out this time from my resume was that I was fearful of the political repercussions.  After all, how can a Republican organization trust someone who has more or less been employed by the Democrats?  The main reason I bring it up now is to both inform and warn others.  Fortunately, I believe my actions since that time have clearly and consistently proven my loyalty to my principles and that I was merely temporarily stuck in a quagmire.  Thus ends my story of my days working for the enemy.

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