On a holiday weekend in Chicago the casualty count grows fast. According to the Chicago Tribune [link expired], 49 people had been shot in the city by Memorial Day morning.1 This seems like an ironic way to honor veterans who met similar fates while serving their country instead of battling over drug turf and pocket change, but it is emblematic of the values our politics has helped encourage. The situation has become so extreme that Donald Trump appearances have sparked violence even among those who have no right to vote for or against him or even set foot on our soil. Many of these people are also protesting what they earn for doing minimum wage jobs, as if a boost to $15 an hour would suddenly make their lives worthwhile.
For others, it takes less than a $15 minimum wage to sacrifice theirs.
Values conflict with the politics of greed
Barack Obama visited Hiroshima, Japan last week and spoke to American and Japanese troops about shared values:
Your service, right here, is rooted in the shared values of today’s Japan and today’s United States: the values of freedom, the values of democracy, the values of human rights, the values of rule of law.2
These were bold words from a president who has helped ensure that money, not values drives what our people care about. The Fight for $15 and unceasing demands to strip wealthier Americans of their incomes didn’t come from shared values. They came from Democrats.
America under Obama has become a struggle for dollars at the expense of what we used to believe in. There are real benefits to be reaped from lives spent in politics promising a better life for the people that is always just out of spending range. Politicians, not free enterprise set the bar at a $15 minimum wage. Many workers seem eager to settle for that, as if being told what their standard of living should be is better than deciding for themselves.
Politicians will grow wealthier. Minimum wage workers who believe propaganda about a living wage will continue scrabbling for handouts.
Meanwhile, today we celebrate a national holiday honoring people who died for less because they felt their sacrifice would hold greater value.
Would you die for less than a $15 minimum wage?
The military doesn’t pay a lot of money for entry-level service. Goarmy.com shows a base pay for soldiers that is just over half of the hourly $15 protesters across the country have been demanding for flipping burgers and taking out the trash.
There is a big difference between offering to die for your country and wiping up spilled food from a fast food tabletop. The fact that this discussion even exists tells you how low Barack Obama and his minions have brought the country.
Shootings, violent political protests, and the hatred of anything and anyone who suggests that America exists for something other than to provide support for the people who live here, legally and illegally, is where we are at on Memorial Day 2016. None of this reflects values worth dying for.
How would you explain that to the people who laid down their lives because they thought we were worth defending?
UPDATE June 11, 2016: if protesters don’t like the idea of making less than $15 for unskilled labor, how do you think they will feel about being asked to work to drag themselves out of poverty?
UPDATED May 31, 2016: revise total shootings from 48 to 49 per Tribune article. Later in the day the number peaked at 69.
UPDATED May 30, 2016 to revise total shootings in Chicago and link to Tribune article.