Monday, September 6, 2010

In Cheap We Trust

In Mary Newsom’s, Losing sight of what matters in America, Do we value ‘value’ or just value ‘cheap’? She expounds upon our eroding culture, government systems, quality, lack of customer service etc. Something we could all relate to. But would all this have happened had we collectively maintained our values?

Value is defined as some thing of relative worth, merit or importance.

I could go in many directions with this piece, but what floors me most is the comment from johnsonrv stating people that make more money deserve the income because they have “spent their time in school, COMPETING for high grades, competing for the next promotion or business opportunity and staying away from the things that would distract them from their goals…”

I have a difficult time understanding this person’s opinion considering I know many individuals who have worked hard for their educations, competed for their jobs and make approximately $20k a year. I do not understand how the value of hard work is associated with high income. Is sitting behind a computer all day at a corporate job necessarily hard labor? There are plenty of dirtier jobs out there full of competition johnsonrv. He continues, “Again for the most part, they didn't become a 'have' by whining about their position (in) life when things didn't go their way. They did something about it….” Not to sound trite, but it seems johnsonrv is the only one wining here and he considers himself a ‘have’.

I have a lot in life, I certainly do not make six figures and I am not complaining about it. The richness in life is not provided by income and that is my value. Some people are dealt a poor hand unfortunately, those people still deserve a fair shot at great schools for their children and access to park lands etc. I am not sure when prejudice became so prevalent – that a person is worth what they work in society, I think is a terribly poor outlook in life and appears similar to the caste system. Until we realize as a society that we are no better (and no worse) than the homeless person on 2nd Avenue, we will continue to have the sharply contrasting partisan views that are truly corrupting the nation.

And someone reading this might wonder what it has to do with transportation?! Similar prejudice is applied to those residing in communities with inadequate transportation modes. If you were an undereducated person looking for a job and lacked the means to travel to the major economic center in your area, your options for employment are limited. People making minimum wage and even well above that struggle to make ends meet some deemed well educated and competitively worthy no doubt. They may be limited by location and affordability of housing or the complete erosion of our transportation systems. Either way, their opportunities for economic mobility and success are limited and largely out of their control.