Crisis Management

Managing Backlash: ‘Julius Caesar,’ Donald Trump, and Shakespeare in the Park

Managing Backlash: ‘Julius Caesar,’ Donald Trump, and Shakespeare in the Park

A blonde solon in an ill-fitting suit lying dead on the Senate floor, bloody knives held aloft by a cohort of celebrating conspirators. It’s an arresting image, the onstage murder of a man we all immediately recognize as Donald Trump under another name, and in today’s fraught political climate – perhaps more so than at any time in living memory – it’s unsurprising that it has erupted into a firestorm.

It doesn’t matter that other politicos have been cast in the role of the very famously assassinated Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s legendary play before (so much so that it’s been called a “common trope”), up to and including Obama. 2017 is not like other years, and Donald Trump is not like other presidents. Tensions are high, and inflammatory art has been known to result in real violence. This country feels like a tinderbox, and hushed conversations regarding how exactly the president might be prematurely removed from office frequently accent dinner dates, street corners, and office break rooms. And nobody is entirely sure who they can trust.

This is, I imagine, what pre-war feels like.

And there on the stage, New York’s Public Theater shows the president repeatedly and brutally stabbed to death by his opponents. The resulting conflagration is exactly what you’d expect from a country torn so sharply in two that the opposing sides no longer often speak; for some, this is harmless art. For others, it’s an incitement to violence. And consider that it wasn’t that long ago that our national conversation was “should we or shouldn’t we take to the streets to fight out our differences?”

The news today of the shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise only heightens the urgency of this conversation. The heightened tensions of the day are already boiling over into political violence. The mess The Public Theater has stepped in is extremely serious.

Amazon’s New Parental Leave Expansion Is Smart PR Before Holiday Shopping Season

Amazon’s New Parental Leave Expansion Is Smart PR Before Holiday Shopping Season

In an internal email this past Monday, Amazon announced a new parental leave plan that provides paid paternity leave and extends paid maternity leave, to take effect on January 1st. Markedly, in addition to extending paid maternity leave to up to 20 weeks for birth mothers, the revamped policy adds six weeks of paid time-off for new parents – who have worked for the company for at least a year – regardless of gender, allowing new fathers paid time-off following the birth or adoption of a child for the first time in the e-commerce superpower’s 21-year-long history.

Following similar policy updates from Yahoo, Netflix, Microsoft, and Adobe, Amazon’s new plan brings the Seattle-based e-commerce giant up to speed with a growing group of tech companies that are working to improve family leave for their employees.

In reality, we have a very long way to go in securing the rights for working parents – the US is the only developed country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave, with the UK guaranteeing 39 weeks paid maternal leave, Australia 18 weeks, and Mexico 12. Moreover, Amazon’s new plan is restricted to full-time employees and does not apply to contract or temporary workers, which are becoming far more prevalent in today’s on-demand economy. Additionally, one should keep in mind that just because a policy is adopted, that does not necessarily mean workers will have easy, unfettered, and encouraged access to it.

All of that said, the emerging trend is nonetheless an encouraging move toward workplace equality for both new mothers and fathers and is indicative of the longstanding demand for advancements in the rights of working families and ultimately a better work-life balance.