I was picking up my daughter from school one day.
I came in a little late and of course there was no parking left for me.
So I ended up parking in somebody’s driveway but I was thoughtful enough to stay in my car - just in case the house owner would show up and needed the access to his garage.
Honestly, I was feeling a little bit uneasy intruding like that on somebody’s property but I thought that 15 minutes was not that much, especially if no one saw me :)
As I was waiting for the school gate to open, a parking maiden shows up in her carriage.
She promptly parks in the fire hydrant zone – the only spot on the street available – and without any further delay started giving away parking tickets.
These days they have a hand held computer. They just punch in your plate number and out comes the ticket freshly printed.
That makes it very effective and she was quite good at it.
I promptly put my car in reverse and drove a couple of blocks away where I could find a legal parking place, and then I walked back to the school entrance.
There was a little commotion going on as the parents were finding out they were ticketed – and by this time there were quite of few of them.
There were some quiet mutterings and some people were talking about it, but nobody was saying anything to the parking maiden, which was serenely continuing to give out tickets.
So I went to her and asked:
“These are hard working parents picking up their children, why are you doing this to them?”
She answered me something like “please sir, do not interfere with my job” – on a pretty stern voice – and continued undisturbed.
Then I said to her:
“You know the slave traders were just doing their job too. You don’t think that just because it was legal they had right to do it. Do you?”
She gave me a killer look and that same lame excuse “I am just doing my job, sir”
And yes she was an African American.
I don’t know if it was my conversation or the children bursting out of the school gates but she turned around and walked to her car.
And although I did not get a ticket that day it left me with a bad feeling that something was wrong in this country of ours.
We all have a job.
But that job is not what we think it is. Our job is to be decent human beings.
It is what everybody should aspire for – to become a better human being every day.
Our so called “job” or as I like to call it our “trade” is just the way to earn our living, a way to provide goods and service to our fellow men.
Is it not that the government should be a government of the people for the people?
Is it not that our civil servants – as the name implies – should serve and protect us?
Since when have we stopped serving our fellow men and started serving corporations and institutions?
Every great crime against humanity was done by people that were “just doing their job”
That excuse has popped up its ugly head again and it is on everybody’s lips from Wall Street to White House.
If you are “just doing your job” you are one of the perpetrators of injustice and abuse.
After all is said and done, when you have spent your working days and are ready for retirement, the only thing left to you is not your career but that decency of a life well lived.
We all have a job and that job is to be a decent human being.
Everything else is just an illusion.