Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Weather as a Metaphor for Privilege

It's snowing in NEPA. I think we've gotten about 5-6" so far and it's not slowing down. The roads are horrible. I saw plows out before work this morning, but they've either fallen behind or we've hit the limit of our snow removal budget. (It happens.)

I live and work in a valley surrounded by mountains, so if we've got 6" here, the surrounding areas have at least 10", and I know they've broken the snow removal budget. I mention this because while I live within walking distance of work (the walk takes me between 35 and 45 minutes), several people here do not. In fact, they live 45 minutes out in the mountains. They have been told to go home, while those of us who live in town have been told to stay. Controversy has insued.


Well, I think it is. Those of us left here will get home, one way or another. It might be a longer and more difficult drive, or a walk at least part of the way, but we'll get home. Those who live in the mountains could well end up stranded on back highways. Those of us still at work are the lucky ones, the privileged ones, who have no worry about spending the night in a car stuck in a ditch.

I feel this same way about people who complain about universal health care, welfare and food stamps. "IT'S NOT FAIR!!! I WORK!!"

Well, lucky you. You are privileged to have a job, and not just a job, but a job that pays enough to meet your needs. You are privileged in that you have a place to live, food to eat and can afford to have a doctor treat your injuries and illnesses. I'm sure those paying for dinner with food stamps would be more than happy to trade places with you. Just like I'm sure the secretary who was contemplating her drive home with tears in her eyes would happily stay until 9:00 tonight if it meant a quick, safe trip home.

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