In America, there is little chance at a reversal of fortune for those less fortunate. Poverty is a sentence for the crime of existing. Poverty is a denial of rights sold as a character flaw.
There are two common responses to the plight of the low-wage worker. The first is “That’s just the way things are”, a response which serves both to derail empathy and deter people from imagining the way things could be.
The second is “But it worked out for me.” This is the refrain of the tenured to the adjunct, the staff to the freelancer, the rich to the poor: “But it worked out for me; the system is fine, it worked out for me.”
The problem is that in an economy of falling wages and eroded safety nets, there is a very fine line between “you” and “me”.
People not only fall through the cracks, they live in the cracks as a full-time occupation. The view from the cracks is a lot clearer than the view from above. When you look down on people, they stop being people. But when you watch from below, you see how easy it is to fall.
Personal success does not excuse systematic exploitation. “That’s just the way things are” does not explain widespread suffering. Ask why things are the way they are, why things are not working out for working Americans.
And when they do not give you an answer? Start demanding one.
Read the whole thing, Zero Opportunity Employers, at Al Jazeera English