Stand Up To The Man

When I lived in Utah County, I would drive past a sign on my way to work every morning that said, “Don’t waste your life on the wrong career”. It was a big billboard on the side of I-15, where thousands of people drive by on their commute.

I really hated that sign. It’s an aweful use of rhetoric – a fallacy. Why? Because its message is driven by fear. Fear, that if you make the wrong career choice, you’ve made a grave mistake, and you’ve wasted life. It’s a really aweful message, mostly because people don’t question the message itself. Why would you, when society has glorified having a succesful career? People just believe it.

What’s worse than the fact that it’s a fear-based message, is how it wrongly assumes that carreer choice is somehow correlated with a good life

Only life is life, and nothing is comparable – especially not career! But this mother fucking sign contributes to the whole agenda which society (and our contry’s rampant capitalistic model) pushes – that carreer is everything.

If you’ve looked in to power structure, than it’s very simple to see why carreer is glorified. American capitalism supports this agenda because it is profitable. Its makes money. And money doesn’t stay with the working class. It goes up. And by somebody else’s design, the working class gets to keep just enough to get by, but also little enough that our human efforts mostly go to working and making a living.

We are simple earthlings. We worry about making a living first and foremost. But why, when we have such big brains and boast our great human intelligence, do we still live in constant pursuit of work and security? Has this not struck you as strange yet? Consider this. Literally, all of the rest of the animal kingdom is making a living also. The ants are doing it. Probably better than us also. All the “less intelligent” creatures are also making a living. But with our big brains, why does it still seem like we live our life in pursuit of work and security.

Now theoretically… If security was much easier to attain, than wouldn’t we use our efforts to make other things in the world besides money? Wouldn’t we have the mental energy to examine our own humanity more closely? Most impactful of all, if security wasn’t so cumbersome to attain, then wouldn’t we have the opportunity to examine our great and complex society more closely? Yes! We would!

So why don’t we? It’s definitely not because your job can’t pay your more. They can pay you more! It’s definitely not because housing is as affordable as it can be. It can be more affordable!

It’s because wealth and power go upwards. It is not distributed fairly amoung the working class on which this nation thrives. Furthermore, wealth is not distributed on a global scale to all of humanity. The wealth is there. A bit of formal education coupled with keen observation on the general state and welfare of society, and you will see that there is a structure. A structure that flourishes in its current nature because it depends on our rampant free market and model of capitalism – which we are also led to glorify.

I’ll tell you why it’s this way. Because as long as your efforts are spent on finding security, than you’ll always be occupied with with working. And, as long as you are working, than you’re not asking questions about the inequality that our nation has been thriving on. This is what the man wants. He wants you to work your whole life, only worrying about maintaining your most basic of hierarchical needs as human beings – food, shelter, and security. Not asking questions. Not making noise in the world. Only paying taxes to your government. He wants you to jump into the greedy, monstrous machines of American capitalism, which is sold so glamorously to the whole world as “The American Dream”. And god forbid you smoke any of that devilish marijuana or take psychedelics. So, its criminalized and made a schedule 1 drug.

The upper class have their own agenda, and you are part of it. It’s easy for them! Because the rich and powerful have an arm and a leg in government, they have a lot of influence over the design of our economy, law, judicial process and even the scientific findings which we trust on to make environmental policy. It is made so that we compete with eachother in business, in politics, and religious beliefs. It’s a simple divide and conquer method. Together, we can rise up to the oppressors. They know this also. So, they have the people of this country banter and fight against eachother on issues like a womans right to choose, common sense gun reform, immigration, and a whole variety of social issues. They have us voting against our own interest, while they walk away from the conversation with more money in their pockets and the structure continues to thrive.

My parents family came from Mexico to the Unites States to make a better life for them and for me. They did that! My tios y tias all come to work hard, get educated, and start their own businesses. They were able to do that because America offered them a way (for the most part). And because of that, I am here. My cousins and I are privileged to be recieving a formal education, and receiving all the great things that this country has offered. I am so grateful for that. It is part of my heritage.

However, It would be egregious and sorry to say that the same system which provided a way for my family, doesn’t need reformation. My parents family is grateful to have left Mexico and integrated into the American culture. It gave them a better way.

But, I’m not my parents. I’m the next generation, and as a Mexican-American, I feel responsible to say that just because other countries have it worse, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make efforts to do much better. Because, our country can do better if we can manage to align our nation’s values.

Erik H.

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