To me, this goes down the same mistaken path of other thinking that we're all the same. We're not. We're all equal as human beings, and it is the recognition of equality that comes from love, that creates respect for others, that eliminates boundaries of race and gender and other differences.
But to try making us all the same is exactly the opposite of love. That women should be like men, or blacks should be like whites, or whatever other different set should be identical is to suppose that one of them is better and therefore should set the standard. It fails to see the beauty in differences, the strength that different talents and perspectives provide us when we put them all together.
A case in point: the USA used to have a powerful manufacturing base, and this is what allowed us to become a military power in WWII. I am not a fan of war, and I do not believe in many of the armed conflicts we get ourselves into. But I do believe that, in a world where hatred and violence have not been eliminated, you need to be able to defend yourself. And if you're relying on others to provide your manufacturing, you are asking to be in a bad position.
But somehow hands-on trades have been made "less" -- less beautiful, less valuable, less attractive as a career path. And it makes me wonder if this push for everyone to go to college was to get us thinking about other types of jobs so no one would care when all our manufacturing was shipped overseas.
Now it's true ... if our political world leads to no jobs for tradespeople, then it's silly for people to learn any trades. So this is a political question to a degree. It's also a question of what people will support with their dollars. If a corporation could make money manufacturing in the US, but could squeeze out a few more dollars by manufacturing overseas, we can choose to keep buying from them when they leave our shores or buy from those that manufacture here, even if it's for a few bucks more.
Alternately, we could gladly buy from companies that manufacture in other countries as long as the politics of those countries have them buying from us on equal terms. And we stop buying from countries that effectively punish American products.
This is all easier said than done, but I'm just speaking conceptually.
Now that it looks like manufacturing opportunities could be growing the United States once more, we need to make sure there are people for these jobs. That means training and, I would hope, an atmosphere of respect for these important jobs. An atmosphere where it's a great idea for people to take shop classes and to not go to college if a degree doesn't lead to someone's goals.
This is why I was pleased to read some of the comments from Oakland County Executive Brooks Patterson in his state of the county address:
"I recognize every year that I spend a fair amount of time talking about the knowledge‐based economy, the high‐tech opportunities in Oakland County. Let me balance those comments with a reality check tonight: not every child is college bound. ... We should encourage those who would rather make a good living with their hands. ... One way to get a boy, or a girl for that matter, interested in a very satisfying career within the skill trades might be as simple as reinstituting in grade school or high school what we all knew as 'shop class.' When we abandoned the shop class idea it was immediately stigmatized that it was not an inspirational career and rather we should focus on sending everybody to college. Seriously, I hope my friends at Oakland Schools are listening to this call to return to the basics such as shop class where ultimately the jobs are plentiful, good paying, and you graduate without a college debt."
As a writer and digital marketer, I know that I can help a tradesman grow his business. But when I need to run new wires or plumbing in my home, I need him to do that for me. This is why we all need each other. I'm not a handyman, and I personally have tremendous respect for people who can build or fix things. I'd like to see that respect offered to all the jobs we need done in society.