We are exploited. In every way. And by we, I mean we. All of us. The common and the uncommon. The people you see every day. The nameless walking past you in the hallway, standing with you on the elevator, shopping with you in your local box store. We are all exploited. Economically. Politically. Spiritually. Educationally.
Take a minute and think about our lives. We live in our moments of bliss. We get a small raise. We get a good grade. We meet people at our places of worship. We blast Facebook posts about injustice. We scream at the top of our lungs.
And each of these things is a pittance. A trifle. A breath.
In reality (if there is such a thing), we are just replaceable parts in the grand scheme of power and money.
For all of you that celebrate the capitalist mentality, think that this is the American Dream, just think about who is making money. Not us. Not you. Sure, you might be okay. Maybe comfortable. You might have a car, Netflix, and pizza night. But, Apple is worth a trillion dollars. There are more than 500 billionaires in the United States. You/we are all just mechanisms in their quest to have more and more. And more. We are working to make sure they have. We don’t work for us. We work for them. And they fight against us. Fighting insurance. Fighting minimum wage hikes. Fighting against unions. We are exploited for their sixth or seventh boat or office complex.
So, who is fighting for us? Our party? Nope. Not at all. It doesn’t matter if you are a Democrat, a Republican, Green, or Libertarian, our political parties work toward maintaining control without ever really doing anything. They let local parties and politicians fight for themselves. And then they ask for more. More money. More volunteering. More money. More time. Who gets elected? The electables. Even with people that have the same mindset, we are exploited for time and money.
The same holds true for spirituality and religion. Churches, religious leaders, atheists, agnostics, all exploit the masses for a purpose. We are told what to believe. If we don’t, we are threatened with damnation. We use our beliefs to control others, to subjugate others, and to be mouthpieces that rally against difference. Churches, non-Churches all have an agenda to attract and retain members. People are exploited out of fear.
Finally, what about education. What is our education system doing? We are creating generations that can read and write, but cannot think. They can do math, but cannot reason. That know the parts of a cell, but don’t know the methods of science? Why? To sell textbooks. To sell tests. To sell remediation. To sell, to sell, to sell… Education has become the most public, corporate enterprise. We have created emergencies of learning to sell products. And who suffers? The student. They are exploited and their growth is stunted because of the need to measure.
So, what can we do?
Don’t be exploited. Be authentic. Don’t just accept things as they are. Think about your comfort. Is it real, or is it just better than an alternative?
Strive for greatness, not just ease.
Do not conform to a forced ideal.
Do not be compliant in a world that only wants you to serve it.
Do not be exploited. Bob Marley sang, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our mind.” And it is time to emancipate yourself from the exploitation of life. Celebrate yourself. Always push forward. Don’t be just another person doing the work for someone. Don’t be just another person going door to door for someone that won’t represent you. Don’t be just another person that buys into a belief system out of fear. Don’t be just another student that accepts that right and wrong answers are learning.
Move forward. Take control of yourself. Be strong.
With the exception of a year, I have been a teacher or a student for my entire life. I have taught on many different levels. I have been a middle school teacher (okay, for one semester for student teaching...because of this, I have a profound respect for middle school teachers), high school, undergraduates and graduate students. I have coached soccer in youth leagues and high school. Education is in my blood.