Enough Dignity to go Around

by Jon Rodriguez

Sometime between when my father was my age and the modern day, someone made the decision to take away the working man’s dignity. Perhaps, in a world thriving on automation the idea of a person doing a job that a machine could potentially do better became shameful.

Delivery people, custodians, and degreeless blue collar workers became the subject of the political parties’ appeal to victims. These individuals, regardless of how they felt about their career and lifestyle, were told that they had been dealt a bad hand. That, surely in the land of equal opportunity, they should have risen to higher positions in society. Anyone given a public education and a 40 hour work week ought to be able to reach a dignified position.


The barber who has cut hair under 7 presidents, 3 wars, and endless technological change is told that the craft to which he has dedicated his life is of little importance because he does not make a certain amount of money. He does not meet the criteria of success specified by a government that equates a lack  of formal education to a lack of intelligence. He is a victim to be considered in need because a 4-year degree is not required in his field. The way he has lived his life defies the understanding of politicians passing legislation so that no one will have to live as he has –on such small pay, such little education, and maintain such a modest lifestyle. His shop employs a single mother, a teenager who aspires to do hair for the movies, and a veteran. He has raised 3 children, all of whom have attended college and started families of their own, and yet he has led a life not worth mentioning as an example of success.

Restore dignity to those who are content with their lives, regardless of superficial metrics, and individuals will create careers and occupations never considered worthwhile instead of committing their life to careers they will not excel at due to their lack of innate passion for it. Refuse to homogenize the notion of an ideal life and allow the individual to expose those who are actually in need. Dismiss the projection of your own views as to what is best for others and identify their goals and how you can help them reach those goals. Listen to all of those who need help and find the individuals that you have the ability to help.

The world has enough victims. Do not create more out of ignorance.

What I’m reading about today: The Power of Love