Tracker Pixel for Entry

Have a little respect

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | November 6th, 2019

Protest in Fargo - photograph by C.S. Hagen

By Waylon Hedegaard
retiringwithcats@gmail.com

Does everyone find Facebook disturbing nowadays? Oh, I don’t mean the creepy way when after you search for a product, ads for that product are suddenly everywhere like bed bugs. Nor do I mean the way Facebook mines your core personality for every spending or voting habit and then sell that info to the highest bidder… Well, not just that anyway. Admittedly, that’s troublesome.

What really disturbs me is the way so many of us can coldly look down on and mock others without the emotional consequences of doing it face to face. Examples abound, but it’s the posts and memes mocking workers who want healthcare or a higher minimum wage that angers me.

In a dozen different ways, these memes scream the idea that if workers want better pay or healthcare, they should simply go out and get better jobs! These imply that it’s only the worker’s basic laziness that keeps them from gaining these needs. As if service sector workers somehow have a huge moral failing for not being employed in high-paying jobs with great benefits.

As if they are lesser people.

These jobs are mocked as starter jobs fit only for high schoolers and college students, and were never meant to provide a living wage. Somehow, service sector jobs are considered unfit for adults with “real responsibilities”?

Haven’t these posters been to a Target or a McDonalds? Are they somehow seeing different people than I am? While young people make up their share of workers, how can someone not see that the rest of these jobs are filled by older workers, many of whom certainly have families and children, most of whom have bills that are far more important than teen-age beer money?

Look around. These hard-working people are everywhere. They are the older waitresses who we’ve seen working in our favorite restaurants for years, the local gas station attendants who have cheerfully rung up hundreds of tanks of our gas, and the Baristas who have been at the same store since its opening.

Are they inferior for staying in place as others moved on? Are they undeserving of necessities like healthcare or a basic living wage?

Are they less worthy of our basic respect?

Let me be clear. Most North Dakotans do not mistreat their restaurant servers, or Target associates or local baristas. Most of us are kind, considerate and tip well… in person. We wouldn’t think of mocking these workers’ jobs in front of them. So the question that tortures my soul is why do we feel it’s fine to shame the same workers when they ask for better healthcare or a better minimum wage, but only on Facebook where we don’t have to look them in the eye.

Past the cruel mockery, the central idea itself is absurd. Are we so addicted to easy answers that we will accept any solution to what ails us? Do we really think the answer to our healthcare dilemma or income inequality is for everybody to get a better job? Ever attended a spaghetti feed or bought items at a bake sale to help friends with excellent insurance pay off medical debt?

And where are all those good jobs going to come from? What is everyone going to do? How many doctors and lawyers or welders and construction workers can we train before the market becomes oversaturated. The basic law of labor supply and demand is that the surest way to lower the wages is to make certain there are plenty of trained people to do those same jobs.

Face it! If everyone gets a better job then none of us will have a good job.

And who is going to do the millions of lower-paid but essential jobs that our society exists? This nation would crumble in a week without these workers.

Regardless of what career we have, we all need to stand up for some basic decency. These service sector workers are not freeloaders, and they are not lazy. Most of them do the jobs asked of them, and they do them well. They are not paid low wages because of their work ethic. They are paid what they are because that’s the way our system currently works.

I can’t help but think of my hard-working grandmother and let me assure you that if hard work was a sure path to prosperity, my grandmother wouldn’t have died in poverty, but she did. Working as a sharecropper, then in low wage jobs her entire life, she could just never quite climb that ladder.

“But the cost,” people argue. How could we pay for it? For now, let’s skip the shocking fact that the United States has the highest cost healthcare in the world, and let’s pass right by the absurdity of explaining to people of other nations the concept of having a medical emergency spaghetti feed. And let’s not even touch the reality that we now have individuals whose wealth and power are approaching that of small nations.

Let’s just look at ourselves for this. When asked how are we going to pay for this, we need to be willing to stand up and do what’s right? Because I am willing. We all need to say, “I’ll help!”

I am willing to have my hamburger cost an extra $.50 so I can sleep at night knowing those cooks and servers have decent healthcare. I’ll pay an extra ten cents a gallon to make sure the employees can buy their kids a decent Christmas present this year, and I will pay an extra 50 cents for a cup of coffee to assure that there will be more food on more family’s tables.

We all should be willing. Patriotism isn’t about waving a flag or wearing star-spangled underwear. It’s about helping other Americans achieve the same dream many of us have achieved. You’re not much of a patriot if you’re mocking other’s poverty.

These service workers deserve more. They deserve better pay and better healthcare, but more than anything, they warrant the respect every worker deserves for doing their job and providing for their families.

Remember when North Dakota nice used to mean something more than just words. Maybe, we should start to bring it back with deeds. Maybe we need to start saying, “I’ll help!”

Recently in:

By the time this article is published, all the major new outlets in the area will have reported on the May 30th protest in Fargo demanding change and justice after the needless killing of George Floyd, as well as its aftermath. …

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

by Sofia Makarova and Massimo Sassi The global pandemic is an incredibly challenging time for many. Nearlyone in every three Americans’ jobs have been affected, whether a temporary layoff, a permanent job loss, or a reduction in…

The Death of Empire by A Thousand CutsSome empires last longer than others. Rome was one. The Chinese empire died the death of a thousand cuts they made famous a thousand years ago. But the Chinese heart that was sliced centuries…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Well-deserved praise for writer-director Amy Seimetz’s efficient and provocative “She Dies Tomorrow” almost inevitably points to the film’s eerie timeliness as a metaphor for pandemic-inspired malaise and disequilibrium.…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

“(Kafka’s) world knows no physical or moral order…We, the readers, are reliving our bad dreams…punishment is over all the characters, but the crime remains mysteriously hidden…” - William Hubben“The specter of color is…