The number of blogs out there totally blows my mind. My current position at the middle of a generational divide in the teaching world blows my mind. Haiti blows my mind. These days, I wake up and pick what I will let get to me that day. There’s just too much to take it all in.
When I write, it is mostly because I feel compelled to remind myself that I can. That I can speak up just because I want to. Somewhere between the age of 5 (when I was sure that whatever I wanted to say would find an audience) and now, I lost that feeling, that understanding of myself. In my daily professional life, I do no shortage of talking. And, I dare say, no shortage of listening. But as for truly speaking…well, sometimes I wonder. Who hears me? I know I say things worth the hearing. I have good opinions, even if I am scatterbrained in remembering details. So why do I need a reminder to use my voice, given the amount of talking that I do each day? Why do I need to be reminded that it’s okay? I’ve yet to figure that out. Not for lack of trying or straining to see into that fog of activity that surrounds me.
What do I want to say today? Let me start there. Today, I think that capitalism sucks. I think it encourages innovation, yes. I also think it encourages douchbaggery. And I’m for sure that it shortchanges anyone who is not luck enough to be in the delicate position of engaging in some arbitrarily designed profession that pays a disproportionate amount. If you don’t have the right background or credentials, and are not willing to sell yourself in a certain way for a certain amount of time (law school, being someone’s bitch in the office, using your brain and moral code in a certain, ambiguous way), you have to settle for the least someone is willing to pay you in order to keep you there. You have to accept a certain schedule, regardless of whether it fits your priorities- because there is no other option. You have to work for money, and you have to do it within a system that is double damned for touting it’s opportunity and freedom to become anything, while simultaneously blocking opportunities by limiting your availability to pursue them.
If capitalism were working okay right now, the banks would not have been able to arrange the ridiculous sweetheart deals that they did last year in that euphumistically-phrased “Bank Bailout.” The absurdity of the situation would have been called out straight for what it was and not padded around like a cranky relative. The lip-service would have been less and the accountability would have been more. I no longer believe the banks when they say that the bailout was necessary for the public. If it was, the public would be seeing greater benefit to the billions of dollars that THEY gave to the banks to save their asses.
Now, I’m aware that I have no complex understanding of the financial sector and all the slimy little details that make more sense to someone who sat through a finance degree’s worth of classes. But I have common sense, and I have a bullshit detection. It was going off for months last year.
I will end today with the observation that while I don’t know the long-term effects of this system, I see it making me prioritize certain things above where I would do so if I have the economic choice I would like. I’m not saying I need all the nicest stuff. But after a decade and a half of scrimping and save to pay for the things I need, it would be nice at this point in my life to be able to chose my working hours and not have to accept a system (i.e. teaching ) that pays me for 40 working hours and then obviously gives me a job that requires I work at least 20 more to carry out that job with a modicum of success. There is no sense in working people from dawn to dusk only to ask more of then than can be accomplished in 36 hours. The bait-and-switch of this capitalistic society is as horrible now as it was a century ago. The only difference I see is that instead of pushing children into factories, we push them into classrooms, or out on the streets to fare as they may. And we push parents to work jobs that barely cover expenses as they bust ass to raise children. And we push older people out of retirement into working at CVS to supplement their incomes while bankers and executives get bonuses for their lake house payments. Disgusting. Truthfully, I cannot think of a single age demographic that is not being shafted by this type of system that we so lovingly cradle as a foundational piece of our civilization. The cummulation of this rant is the observation that the Guided Age likely never left.
That’s what I wanted to say today. Oh, and that I’m working on my voice.