The best definition of this style that I could think of, in this short little piece where I try to be a little bit provocative, though I don’t offer any solid answers at the end, I hope to have made you think a little at least.
How do we value human life?
How do we put a price tag on the worth of a man?
How do we decide which contributions are more valued in the eyes of society?
The woman who day after day goes to the retirement home and looks after your mother, in late stages of dementia, barely remembering her carer’s face even though she has worked there for longer than her residence, how much do you think she should get paid?
The man in front of his computer, making phone calls, crunching numbers, then during midday when he gets bored he gets on Facebook for a bit, goes to have lunch with co-workers then when he clocks out at 5 pm he drives home to his four bedroom house and his wife and kids, how much do you think he should get paid?
The teacher who works in the public school, where all the kids who don’t have families with money get to go with the old text books and the metal detectors and rowdy youths who already know that school wont help them much, but the teacher still tries, tries, tries to teach because there is always hope for everyone, long days, ending with papers and assignments corrected in front of the light of the evening news, how much should this person get paid?
The politician, who has managed to stay in office for many years, choosing words carefully and actions too so by next reelection there will be no changes and the paychecks will keep on coming, thanking the lobbyist who make it happen like how we write thank you cards after a birthday party or a funeral, how much should this person get paid?
Think of all the hard, grueling tasks in the world that we cannot live without. Trash pickup, daycare, teaching, road work, mail delivery, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, caretakers, bus drivers, organic farmers, cleaners, short order cooks and so many more. They are the worker ants we barely notice unless we really need then and when we do, how grateful are we?
We might say thanks to the firefighter or the paramedic that save our life, but do we care about the ones that do not touch us that closely?
Do we care whether all of them make a decent wage?
Some of those thankless jobs are the kind that always remain minimum wage because there is never any shortage of people applying for them. Simple supply and demand, all hail the god of capitalism.
But is it morally right that some things we enjoy, things that society cannot live without, is borne on the backs of people who can barely make ends meet?
Meanwhile, there is the upper middle class with their comfortable white collar jobs that pay them quite well, looking down and deciding that those that do all the heavy lifting should remain in poverty.
Is that right? Is that decent?
There are voices raised in some parts of the world, that capitalism is a grand thing, that is keeps business healthy and leads to a strong economy in the country.
To that I say, what does it matter is the surface looks healthy, when underneath, the very inside of a country, its working class heroes are rotting away, crumbling under the pressure of those few who keep them down?
We need to change our outlook about what a human life is worth.
We need to rethink what kind of work is valued in our society.
We need to look down and see all those that lift us up, that help create all the things we require to live happy and content lives.
Perhaps then we can all be more equal.