I am not a Number


A recent article “What’s a Human Being Worth?” gave me hope that we may finally be seeing that the basis of morality is the value we place on a human being. Our society has placed a low value on human beings, especially human beings who are unlike us in some way-skin color, perhaps, or different cultural or religious practices.

We have placed so low a value on human beings that we refer to them as human resources, like timber to be harvested. We place so low a value on human beings that when the U.S. bombed Baghdad, reporters sat and praised the marvelous Shock and Awe technology as 7,400 Iraqi civilians were being blown to bits.

We place so low a value a value on human beings that Peter Schiff said, “I’m not going to say we’re all created equal…you’re worth what your worth.” I presume he means net worth, a number. He also said “mentally retarded” people might be worth only $2 an hour and that the minimum wage should be eliminated to make this possible.”

Unemployed people, by this measure, are worthless and certain politicians and pundits pound on this idea, adding to the pain of joblessness. “If you are not helping me increase my net worth, you have no worth” is the message. Don’t accept this!

When I directed an after school program for disadvantaged kids, a new head honcho told me to get rid of my 50 regulars and get 50 new kids, so my numbers would be bigger. It had taken me a year to gain their trust. I refused.

My kids were not a number. We made T-shirts that said, “I Am Not a Number” and wore them to a meeting of our representative. We would wear them to the state capital if we had to. We would raise holy hell before we would admit that my 50 young human beings were mere numbers to be shuffled around.

The program continued, with the 50 original kids, and it was very successful.

I am not a number. I am not my grade point average, my credit rating, my bank balance, nor my IQ score. I am not a resource to be exploited. I am not a number, and neither are you.

I’ll say it again: Take it from the Bible or take it from science-there never has been and NEVER WILL BE another person exactly like you. We are not equal in every way and do not claim to be, though that is the ridiculous straw man claim that conservative pundits attack.

We are created equal in certain inalienable rights is what the man said. Do they care to attack THAT?

I am not a number. And neither are you. Say it loud when they lie and claim that you are.


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