We all live in the same country, but there are literally two Americas. One America is flowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality. That America is home to millions of people who eat fine food and have material luxuries. They enjoy culture and education for their minds, freedom and human dignity for their spirits. That America is full of young people who grow up in the sunlight of opportunity.
Unfortunately there is another America. One that is ugly, one that trades hope for despair. In this America millions are forced to live in inadequate, substandard, and often dilapidated housing. These homes don’t have swimming pools or new wall to wall carpet. Too often these homes have wall to wall roaches, bedbugs, and rats.
In this America, many people have lost hope and motivation. They’ve had so many doors closed in their faces that they feel defeated. They have come to feel like life is a long dark hallway with no exit sign and they’ve given up.
You might ask; Why don’t these people get a job? Sadly, many of them work full time jobs for part time wages. Most poor Americans work every day, but they’re making wages so inadequate that they cannot even support they’re families. You know where they are working. They’re working at fast food chains, temporary services, gas stations and retail stores.
Why should those who are making a contribution to society be living in poverty? The social safety net would be less expensive on U.S. taxpayers if low wage workers were making a living wage. 28 percent of workers in America get paid at or below poverty line wages, even when accounting for those who work in states like Ohio where the state minimum wage is higher than the federal minimum wage. 66 percent of minimum workers live below the poverty line.
It is easy to take other workers for granted. But after a long and tiring day at work, it is fast food and workers and housekeepers who fill peoples bellies and provide them with a clean place to relax.
I pray that people of justice and goodwill come to see the dignity of ALL LABOR, that they will come to see that person serving food at a restaurant or janitor cleaning a bathroom and realize that they are just as significant as a doctor, because their job is just as important to our health as the doctors.
We look around and see thousands and millions of people making inadequate wages everyday, but no labor is menial unless you make inadequate wages.
Over 200 years ago, our nation signed a document that said: “We hold these truth’s to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It didn’t say some men; it said all men. It didn’t say rich men; it said all men. It didn’t say white men born on American soil; it said all men. And then it said something else. That every man has certain basic rights that are neither derived from nor conferred by the state. They are God given!
But God also expects us to do for ourselves. The main function of labor unions is to bring together workers on a job site, in an industry’ trade, or profession into one bargaining unit, so they have the strength to speak and bargain with management with one voice.
Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed!