On Monday, the Town of Marlinton celebrated the life and work of one of our country’s most important advocates for equality and civil rights. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shaped an enduring legacy, by calling upon America to ensure equal justice under the law. He called us to uphold our founding ideals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. His belief that all people are made in God’s image and created equal, is directly from the Word of God and should be the basis for our belief, as well. It is good that we have an annual reminder of Dr. King’s courage and vision to do what is right, in the midst of all the wrong.
Our nation is at a time in history when we need to consider love and compassion as the only real triumph over bitterness and hatred. Light is the only way to drive away darkness. This year, as Dr. King’s birthday was observed, our nation’s government is in the middle of its longest shutdown. Any shut-down of work is terrible, especially when it is your work. Realizing your livelihood is an unnecessary consequence of someone else’s agenda, makes it even more terrible.
Last week, in the Mayor’s Corner, I talked about the value of work. All jobs that provide a service are an important and necessary part of life. Without work, we see that within 30 to 60 days the loss of income can have devastating impacts on a family. The inability to pay rent or make a car payment is real. Some breadwinners turn to alcohol, drugs or gambling as a way to cope.
What we see going on in government now is somewhat like what we’ve seen in decades past, in the private-sector. American factories shutdown and tens of thousands were put out of work, in industries targeted by the government or others. During this period, thousands in our state saw their entire industries decimated while federal employment remained stable. Average pay grew twice as fast for federal employees as it did in the private sector. Federal employees had pensions and almost all have health insurance. These perks are harder to come by as an employee in corporate America.
Where am I going with this?
When our work is legitimate and provides a needed service, no individual’s livelihood should be held hostage by separate issues and differences of opinion. Especially when one has nothing to do with the other.
However well-intended, a person or a group should not be allowed to deny others their right-to-work – government workers, coal miners, steel workers, gas and oil workers, or pipeliners.
Compared to the alternative – Work is noble. Work is good.