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  • Doug Chia

The Shareholder Poet

In what may be an annual meeting first, John Harrington of Harrington Investments recited an original long-form poem to present his shareholder proposal at Microsoft's annual meeting earlier this week. The proposal related to Microsoft's contract with the US military to develop headsets for combat soldiers that incorporate the company's augmented reality technology. Here's how it goes:

An ode to a false technology, is this the question to kill or be killed? For a true video game, that must be the thrill. Gears of War, Call of Duty or Halo of War 4, it must be to speak of opening the door. To the fun of war and death only for soldiers real, is the fantasy of money that makes the deal. Our company preaches shareholders not to withhold tech, but shouldn’t it always deal from the top of the deck?

It’s best to engage us before the beast is loose and much before investors necks are in the noose. Our employees implore our company to desist from inserting into its DNA the war machine young customers can’t resist.

Now our company has said goodbye to a hundred or more to Meta pleasantly opening its door. Materialistic self-interest that is embedded in our heart with a fiduciary duty bound in moral law that never got a start.

Our company repeats its pledge of a principled approach in pursuing military contracts of no reproach. As billions flow to weapons of war, our company demeans human life from afar. While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads, little boys now see shadows of creating the dead. It’s all a game for children to play and for soldiers of war who have no say.

In the basement of headsets in Building 92, our camera sensors, radios and night visions should not rule. It’s a hot technology that’s heavy, bulky and bright, perhaps better now to fit into the enemy’s deadly sights. The device could have gotten us killed, one tester said. As with any technology, there’s no failsafe for anyone if dead.

We ESG investors fear our company has lost its heart to war games that play a major part. What is important is our company’s lack of soul. What is truly needed is a return to a fiduciary mold, which consists of all the company’s products and services bound to a high moral duty that is sound.

I have a question for our board of directors. Aren’t there always alternative decisions that can be intended, and can be morally and legally defended, that will not result in death and destruction, but lead to additional life and positive construction?

This last appeal for a sensible solution might actually, indeed, create a real revolution. Fiduciary duty is rooted in theological teachings based upon an agent’s moral duty to serve others. Please vote yes on Proposal 5. I move this resolution.


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