What’s the Lesson Here?

Not for the first time, car horn-honking, chanting, cheering, and clapping beckoned me to the administrative offices for San Diego Unified School District, which is but a few blocks from our University Heights apartment.

I came upon a sizable protest of people dressed in red T-Shirts. The number could have been in the thousands—size the Featured Image and companion don’t capture in part because the crowd spread out some distance. They jam-packed when marching, too. Vitals, aperture manually set for both: f/8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 4:23 p.m. PDT; Leica Q2.

Who were they? Mainly teachers, according to one of the participants that I asked. But from the picket signs, other groups were represented, too, such as janitors. The woman claimed that for more than a year the union had been trying to negotiate a new contract; unsuccessfully.

Then she said something shocking. One of the main justifications for free-market capitalism is the concept of trickle-down economics. When wealth increases at the top of the financial ladder, those on the lower rungs beneath benefit, too. Call me skeptical about this theory’s legitimacy. Nothing in the data is meaningfully convincing. Today, I learned that socialists (seriously, what teacher isn’t) have their own version of this monetary myth. The woman explained that when teachers get raises, “it trickles down to principals, bus drivers”—”janitors”, I interjected—and she nodded.

Good luck, I say, because of the ill-omen. In Star Trek lore, characters that wear red shirts are the most likely killed during an episode. Unless the protesters have a death wish, perhaps another color would be better choice. You think?