All this talk about snobs and elites. And who should go to college.
I don't think any of us are really looking at the big picture. I'm talking about the reality of day-to-day life, and making a living.
We have come over the years to learn to live without services that were once customary: having our gas tank filled and our oil and tires checked, milk delivered to our doors, people answering the phone to direct our call to other humans or actually answer our questions themselves. And there was a time, not so long ago, that people checked out our books, and other people checked out our groceries.
What has happened is automation, and while some say it is easier, and others say it is faster, what it has really done is cut out the cost of workers.
There will be fewer people to talk to at your local library. There will be fewer teachers, because children will be sitting in front of computers getting educated.
Before you think I am going all futuristic on you, I would like to say that we have not done a very good job of figuring in the human factor on jobs that need to get done. I have heard people say in the same breath how they have wonderful memories of going to the library as children, and how wonderful the proposed self-checkout will be.
Except that no one is going to tolerate paying for people who don't have observable tasks to do, like check out books.
Now, all of that is only part of the problem.
There are lots and lots of jobs that need doing that do not require a post-high school education. And we as a society have forced a lot of people who really could care less about higher education to go to college, so that they can then be eligible for jobs that require a college education, not because of needed skills, or even because the pay is higher, but just because employers can use that to weed out applicants.
There are jobs that need to be done, and done well, that we can't automate, much as we would like to. Hotel maid service and short order cooks, construction workers, retail clerks and stockers, and most factory workers will be necessary for awhile yet. We should value them, because they work hard and we need them.
But we ignore them. We pay them salaries that they can't live on, and insist that they work longer hours and more years. And then we debate whether or not everyone should have access to a college education.
Here's the answer.
Everyone should be able to go to college if they so choose. It should be affordable, and available.
But there will be those who are willing to do those difficult, back-breaking non-college jobs. And they should be paid a living wage, with good health benefits, and a retirement that they can look forward to enjoying.
This is where the dems and the right-wing-nuts on the other side are sadly in agreement. They agree that no one should want to do those jobs. And then they fight about who is elite and who's a snob.