Monday, July 22, 2013


Madison, WI – Today I went to the State Capitol in Madison. Within the central building, there was a group of protesters holding signs protesting Scott Walker, the Governor, who in recent memory ended the public workers’ union. The signs said “Wisconsin Jobs, R.I.P” and some other things that are unrepeatable.
I asked one of them, who refused to give his name, why he was holding a sign that read “Walker is a Power Hungry Drunk.” He responded that he had been a member of the union, but lost his job when it ended. “The government of America is a mess and corrupt. They are power hungry and power is all they care about. But we the people have no money. Conservatives like Newt “Get Rich” [Gingrich] take it. America should get rid of money.” Another protester, Mary, was not so loud.. Looking to be in her seventies, and carrying a sign that said “We the people” she was in a wheelchair.
“This nation,” she said, “Needs people to save it. It is everyone’s fault. We need to be progressive, we need to reform it.”
Before I left, I found a man with a thick Chinese accent standing over a balcony looking out on the lawn, reading a newspaper. It was his first American newspaper. Although we did not talk about it, I knew that jobs were a problem in his nation, where sweatshops still exist. There, if you do not like your wages, in many places, there are so many other people ready to work who will take the job that a strike will do nothing.
Near the grand staircase leading to the West Wing, where the Governor’s Office is, I met a group of entrepreneurs, who had just come out of a meeting with Walker. They arrived where they are through hard work, and by pulling themselves up slowly.
Work has long been an issue of difficulty. In Rome, there were so many unemployed that the brothers Gracchi began the institution of what would become the famous “Bread and Circuses.” There have always been unemployed, there always will be. The Scriptures say “the poor you have with you always.” (Mark 14:7)
Those born with no money and no connections may find it hard to reach their goals in life if they are very high, but it can be done. No one owes anyone a job. There is no equal outcome, but there is equal opportunity. Men may be unequal in what they get out of life, but they are also unequal in what they put into it. But anything can be accomplished by a person of average intelligence and ability. An Old Chinese Proverb, which my mother reminded me of today states “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.”

Andrew C. Abbott

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