Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Caste System

Sometimes I think we have a caste system in our country.  You might have seen an article in the media about the death of two New Mexico Department of Transportation workers who were struck and killed by a 92 year old motorist as they worked to make our highways safe.  But, it was a very small story tucked away in a back section of the newspapers  Two public servants dead and little said about it.

But if they had been police officers you would be seeing headlines telling us two heroes had died while performing their duties.  The story would have gone on for weeks and a funeral procession miles long would be in the future.  And yet both highway workers and cops serve us in the same way.  They try to keep us safe.

The media needs to get out of its prejudicial way of reporting, or not reporting, the news when it comes to the great work public servants carry out for us.  Just because one group wears a gun doesn't mean they are more important that a group that uses shovels. 

10 comments:

New Mexican said...

Amen. Funky hero worship is what is happening in America.

The military veteran as a hero syndrome is especially insidious as the real military hero is undermined by any person that has a patch on his hat, anyone who still fits their old uniform. It does not matter that they were a cook in Washington, D.C. or a bus driver at Camp Pendelton. As long as the uniform still fits and you can show up at an event on the 4th of July. And for some reason or other the Navy does not seem to appeal to the hero wannabe. We seem to like the other branches of the armed services.

Anonymous said...

Nailed it Jim!!! With 100% respect to all first responders, there are many......many......MANY other professions that could be considered "heroes" if their jobs were really looked at! How many social workers, teachers or counselors have prevented serious abuse or neglect and never a word mentioned???? it happens every day!!

Any death (especially accidental) by a public servant is a tragedy and police officers are no different, but the grandstanding at funerals, ten thousand government cars in processions and 10 days of front page news is not necessary. Hmmm, I wonder when the best time to commit a crime is??

Anonymous said...

Sad, but insightful observation - thanks for your important reminder, Jim.

Anonymous said...

Good luck turning this one around. Beyond media-politico hero worship, the term "public servant" gets little mention anymore after decades of those mostly hardworking folks being portrayed as "faceless bureaucrats" out to screw us over. To admit respect for public servants, they'd have to acknowledge that disrespect.

Ok, then said...

The appellation "hero" is applied to so very many, especially, as you noted, those in the military and in our militarized police forces, that it has essentially lost any value it had to point out a truly exceptional, outstanding person.

Bubba Muntzer said...

That way in which the media, and politicians, revere law enforcement only makes sense when you think of the central role of police. They are one of the coercive arms of the state, expressions of state power. They are the vehicles by which the state exercises its legal monopoly on violence, and since the state serves, and is controlled by, the ruling class, you've gotten more blather about the police being heroes as the country has become more conservative, just as you get more when the slightly more conservative of the two conservative parties is in power.

As the class war waged from above that began under Ronald Reagan and continues unabated, which has brought us massive inequality in wealth, ever lower paying jobs and ever less secure jobs, has intensified, the central function of the police has become more transparent, and the police likewise have become more violent. Police in the US killed 1,205 civilians last year. So far this year the death toll is 203, or 2.67 per day, an annual rate of 975. Almost all will be poor people and 40 percent will be Blacks although they make up only 12 percent of the population. Racism is always a function of Capitalism. It didn't really exist before Capitalism. Think of the Bible. In Shakeaspeare's day Black people were simply "Moors." Racism based on color came with Capitalism, slavery, the need for free resources. With it, too, came police forces, and their function, to enforce the social order. I heard on a podcast last night, New York City police who work in upper class neighborhoods don't have quotas. Those are for the lower classes.

I saw some statistics yesterday showing that since cops started being militarized with the advent of the "drug war," which has since morphed into simply a war on minorities and poor people, their rate of solving violent crimes like murder and rape have declined to half what they were. This is crimes solved, not conviction rates. You don't hear this stat in the media because they only report "crime rates" and sometimes conviction rates, which are manipulated by cops and DAs anyway, by just not going to court in difficult cases.

Anonymous said...

has the Governor issued a press release saying she will go to the funerals? She would if they were police officers. Will someone in the media ask?

Mike Anderson said...

For the record: http://www.kob.com/new-mexico-news/new-mexico-department-of-transportation-workers-killed-crash-state-road-120/4074226/?cat=504#.VunORHarTGI

Cheers, Mi3ke

Anonymous said...

Cop hater

Anonymous said...

cop hater? are you delusional? or just a sick puppy?