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Jobs, the economy, commerce, retail, the financial market, the service sector; all of these can be used to describe some aspect of our occupation with what we know as “work”. Of course doing work is just a matter of putting out effort for a purpose, a cause, the meeting of a goal. Work is the keelson of our nation, our real wealth in the matter of focusing action and the brain on disciplined activity in order to accomplish anything at all.

Now it is nothing the matter with someone coming from another country and wanting to work, to do something that Americans supposedly do not want to do. Our nation is built on foreign blood and on cultures and traditions and manners from all over the world. Still, there are American citizens, truly legitimately -born people within these borders who deserve every chance to get any kind of work before someone who is not a legal citizen has the chance to get the privileges that apply to honest to goodness American citizens.

As a word of caution and for the safety of women who are engaging in some risky behavior, beware of signs of “birthing houses” such as those recently discovered in California. There women come and they are paying thousands of dollars to have their babies in the United States. This presents health hazards for the mothers and the babies. SUppose something happened in transit from Asia or wherever the women are coming from. Can there be reliable help if something does go wrong? What if labor begins early, what if the baby has trouble, what if the mother has some kind of condition develop that required qualified medical help? Will it be there for them? And when they get to the birthing house, will there be qualified help for them if complications arise? Everyone who suspects there is a birthing house in their area should contact health departments and the law so that the place can be shut down, the women given proper help, and the need for birthing houses and those who run those schemes stopped immediately.

What do these women think that such a thing will do for family life? They might have their babies here but what about possible deportation and other problems? Some kind of family life that would be for those kids. They want to be citizens- come here and do it legitimately, and quit saddling true -born Americans with your problems, taxes, money issues, health and education issues and other situations. Not happy here- well go back where you came. Want to be happy here- get legitimate citizenship and do your part like every good American citizen is supposed to do. You might not be lazy; you might be industrious and willing to work, but don’t demand your “rights”. Like we do, you have to EARN what you get if you care at all about duty and responsibility. What sort of example do you think that just sitting around and demanding what you want will set for your kids?

Americans are not lazy… well, some might be, but then laziness has various and sundry causes and reasons and the like. But there should be no work that is “below” us to do. People for centuries have done “manual” labor, toiling, tilling, sewing, knitting, hewing, chopping, mixing, boiling, walking the borders, trudging the frontiers, making maps, painting and drawing for a building plan. We would not be a nation if everyone was some lazy bum; there are people who do honest, hard work every day and who are proud of that fact.

Firefighters and first responders do their work diligently; in Chicago there have been enough incidents in the past few years to make that clear. Transportation -related people do their work in so many ways: drivers educators, bus drivers, airline pilots, ship captains, makers of the implements these people use daily, such as tower ladders, airplanes, busses, trucks, ocean liners, freighters, semis, train cars and cranes. Construction workers start and finish homes, offices, apartments, condominiums, warehouses, airport runways, fire stations and police stations. We certainly have no lack of hard workers, dedicated people who clock in and out every day and have the goal in mind. From the ground up these folks are on the front lines of commerce and industry.

What is it then that Americans do not want to do, and why would we not want to do them? No job can be considered unimportant so long as there is a niche for it, a need for it, or an obviously visible sign that “something needs to be done”. Do we have reasons for not wanting to go into the farms and fields and pick fruits and vegetables? We eat them after all, so why not contribute to going out and getting them, preparing them for the table, and serving them? Do more than just consume, in other words; make an effort to the whole picture.

If we do not want to be domestics in a household, why would we not want to be? Those with certain lifestyles might require the assistance of capable men and women to make their household run efficiently, especially if they travel a lot, have young children but also have very busy business schedules, or have a large home that needs maintenance. It takes the right kind of person to be a “domestic interior maintenance engineer”. Not everyone can be a nanny, a maid or butler or chauffeur or gardener or good cook for a big household or one with heavy business or travel responsibilities. Caring for others is special; care giving is a big industry and should be supported.

Where does that leave those who beg on the streets for money and carry signs saying they will “work for food”? Laziness is it, or something else? Are they disabled, otherwise challenged, debilitated, or is it really laziness? Some of the guys I see around look perfectly capable of picking up tools and cleaning a park, a vacant lot, or a public pool. But do they find it easier to stand or sit on the streets and shake cups of coins? What do they with the money they get? Well if they are really hungry offer to buy them food; if they are not, forget about it and give your charity to someone who really wants it and will accept it gratefully.

Now if you are in a position to give people jobs, you can offer some of these people work. Talk to them respectfully, buy them a meal, offer them work and describe the terms. Sit down with them and listen to them and what they need. All they might need to cease their begging is someone to listen and to help them over a tough obstacle such as losing a job, a home, or a means of transportation. Listening is such a great tool for networking, and we can all slow down and listen to someone’s story.

What are you willing to do to make this nation better? Are you going to pick up a broom and dustpan, a rake, shovel, pickaxe, trash bags, gloves, a blower, a trowel, a hoe, something to plant a rosebush with? How will you make your community a better place to live and work and play?

There are ways… you just need to find one and go with it.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.