Monday, July 15, 2013

En Mowing Veritas

Sometimes, it takes a mindless activity to get thoughts to come.  It was during a session of mowing the lawn that a very bright light suddenly came on.  It was my Blues Brothers moment where I started suddenly shouting "ELWOOD, THE BAND!" with James Brown dancing and shouting "Do you see the light?".

I was never able to quite  understand why the hard righties were so in opposition to women controlling the number of children they produced.  I figured "As an employer, wouldn't it make my life easier to have a work force with no children?"  I understood a lot of what they were doing, but I couldn't figure out that part of the equation.

It was mowing that cleared things up.  The answer is "history".  What do I do for a living?  Why, I "teach history".   Seems as if it would have come to me a lot sooner, but maybe I was just simply trying too hard.

Most of the revolutions in the history of the world were basically about food and shelter.  Only when a population is fairly well taken care of--food, shelter, and other basic needs--will a group of people think about higher, more lofty issues.  Now, if I'm fairly comfortable and secure, I can focus on the loftier ideals.  Look at the founding fathers.  Almost all of them earned a pretty good income and didn't have to worry about their next meal.  This freed them up to think about other matters.

But if I am wanting for basic needs, my focus is completely different.  Freedom and rights are wonderful things, but if I'm living in a cardboard box and eating out of dumpsters, I'm not going to be too focused on matters of proper search and seizure or who is listening in on someone's cell phone.

And here's where the multiplier effect kicks in.  Most people think about their kids first.  So, if I can choke off a woman's right to manage her reproductive organs (not just abortion, but also making birth control harder to attain), just maybe she'll have an extra child or two more than she planned on.  If that happens, I have her (or them), right where I want them.  They are much more likely to trade pay and benefits away for job security.  If the job market is tight, they won't be able to leave, no matter how much they may hate the job or how badly I treat them.  And if they are putting in 60+ hours a week between the full time job and the part time, there won't be any energy or time to consider loftier matters.   I'll have them in a mindset of "existing", and if you are an amoral/immoral employer or political party, that's a wonderful place to have your populace, because they are too tired, stressed or focused on their immediate needs to think about lofty documents like the Constitution and such.  

Where's my proof?  I think back to the events I've been involved in between the recall, elections, etc.  MOST of the people involved were either childless (none at all, or the kids were adults and on their own) or they could be described as "comfortable", meaning they either made a pretty good salary, or had fairly good job security, or both.  How much would I have been able to do had I been working 2+ jobs and was stressing about losing one? 

Time constraints alone would have limited my participation, but even if that wasn't a factor, I can easily see how someone that was worrying about putting ANY food on the table would consider someone picketing over some lofty ideal as "whiners".  I know I've griped about the lack of involvement of low-income people in politics.  I now think this may be why, and I'm going to try to be less critical. 

The forces of the powerful do some things really, really well.  One thing they do best is to find things that we care about--family, work ethic, patriotism, religion, etc--and find a way to use it against us.    How do we fix it?  Man, I'm afraid I'm going to have to mow a lot of grass before I can answer that one.

1 comment:

kay said...

There is a huge gap between the rich and poor in this country that everyone talks about but it seems very few ever talk about the multiple gaps between the working class that is doing okay and the working poor and the poverty stricken - the way the different groups see things as well as how they live. I've been begging for years for the democrats to become more poverty friendly to avail -- perhaps it's time to make that suggestion again and with more voices?