Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hard Work

I don't really have much to add to the volume of commentary on today, when the turning of the year brings us to the day when the great voice of civil rights was stilled.Except this; at the time he was killed, Dr. King had moved on. He was fighting then not just for civil rights, but for civil justice. And, specifically, for the idea that the rich and powerful nation he was born to was called to do more than merely build highways and float aircraft carriers. That as an American citizen he, and all of us, should be able to find and do a good day's work for a good day's pay.

Without having to fear death or injury. Without regard to what we looked like, or the color of our skin, or what we have for genitalia, or where (or if) we worship, or whom we love.

And it occurs to me; that's a truly wonderful, truly revolutionary idea.

What if one of the bedrock principles of this country; of our government, of our society, of our commerce and industry, was that anyone who wanted to work could work?Think about it. We commonly accept - in fact, it's an article of faith amongst most Americans and among the political Right as a body - that there are and always will be people in this country who cannot find a job. Not don't want a job; who desperately, fiercely want to work but cannot get hired.

And I'll tell you; I've been unemployed. I've had friends who lost their jobs. My wife is, at present, looking grimly for a job (in a field in which she is terrific and would be an asset to anyone who hired her, and that's not bias talking). and no one - no one - I know or knew wants to be unemployed.

And yet all around me I get the sense that outside a handful of people there seems to be this vast...indifference at best, and often angry hostility at worst to the notion that there's something wrong with the country, with the system, with the economy when these people are out of work.

The fault is assumed to be the person's; they're out of work because...they're just fucking lazy, or stupid, or shiftless. They won't move, they won't adapt, they won't do this or they won't do that. if they really wanted they could find a job that would pay them enough to live like a 21st Century American (meaning not in a shelter, or under a bridge, or in a warren five-to-a-bed, or eating fucking cat food).

To which I would simply say; bullshit.I've never known anyone who wouldn't try and fly across the Columbia River by flapping their arms if they could land a decent job at a decent wage. Why does this seem like such a damn deadly difficult thing for many Americans to recognize?So maybe today is as good a day as any to wonder; what would our nation be like if one of the most important things on our domestic agenda was finding good work; hard, satisfying, decently-paying work, for every American who wanted it?

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