Look Up from Your Immediate

I’ve got food on my plate, my bills are paid, I have a permanent home. What else is there?


I’m lucky in that I can look up, but that wasn’t always true. I spent most of my adult life worrying about paying my bills, keeping a roof over my head and putting food on my plate. I worked hard, and yet I could never get past the bills that kept coming.  I kept my head down, focused inward. I skipped meals so I could pay the electric bill. I walked to the subway to avoid the extra fee for the bus. I worked extra hours to afford my rent. Any extra money that came my way went into paying down the debts I’d accumulated. My free time was spent mostly at home, re-reading books or watching old movies on TV. When I could go spend time with friends I treasured it, because it would be a long time before I could do that again.

There are million who spend their whole lives this way, never getting ahead, never able to look up and say, “hey”, to see the world and know that there are injustices that need to be fought against.

And that’s how the people in power want it.

The more of us that cannot look up from our debts, our immediate needs, the better off they are. The masses of us just trying to keep ourselves from dying are fodder for their money pipelines. We never get to look up, to get angry, to protest and work for change.

This past year has been a watershed of anger and frustration on the part of those who have been able to look up.  But those who can are a small, small part of the whole. What about the rest? They are stuck looking at their plates, wondering if there’s going to be breakfast.

And what do those in power do to keep it this way? They market cheap fun. They market cheap foods that fill the belly but give no real nutrition, and may cause disease down the line (but that’s not their problem). They market THINGS and EXPERIENCES that we just have to have so we will take on more and more debt, so we cannot look up.

Why should I vote for this candidate? Oh, right, he thinks just like me. 

Except we are mostly wrong there. The people who say they are for keeping your jobs going, getting you some more money in your pocket, well, they mostly lie. Money should be in their pockets, and not in yours. Keeping your jobs going just means they can pay you squat, and keep their pockets lined well and thickly.

Back in the late 19th century, it was very much the same. Workers had no rights, and wages were stagnant and low. Then there was an upheaval. And unions helped create some protections for workers. Fair wages, weekends. In the middle of the 20th century healthcare benefits helped workers get treated for chronic problems that medical science could now understand.

And a few more could look up. A few more joined in the protests of the 1960s. Civil Rights. Anti-war. Equal Rights for Women.

Whoa, said the power elite. Stop it here. We are losing our power positions. Stop this. 

And they have stopped it. We are back to the masses unable to look up. There’s little or no food on the table. The bills and debts are piling up. The home is not ours, and we owe 2 months rent.


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