Take a stand
Brooks Smith | Thursday, October 8, 2009
As a Viewpoint columnist I often find myself compelled to address serious issues that other people shy away from, it’s like my job. Do I get paid to do this job? I am not even sure, I think I just do it because I like for people to hear my opinions on things. But this isn’t necessarily important. Issues are important. So without further ado I plan to talk about an issue. Read on and think for yourself about this issue.
Often in the busy 24-hour news cycle stories of real importance to real people go unreported. I am writing to call attention to a crusade that has not received its fair share of media attention in The Observer, this crusade, of course, is the fight for five dollar footlongs at the Lafortune Subway. As nobody seems to be willing to speak up about this I have taken it upon myself to write a public protest.
Of course in the world today there are many great struggles going on. The ongoing genocide in Darfur is one. Our continuing involvement in Iraq is another. Another one might be that we elected a president who is running our country into the ground (I’m talking to you Hussein). Also there are social issues like the high rates of sexual assault. But amidst all these issues it is easy to overlook something of real importance, namely that we are paying slightly more for a certain type of sandwich than other people do who buy the same sandwich in different places. This is a serious problem.
It’s natural that on this campus which is full of activism for various good causes something humble like sandwich prices would go overlooked. But I think it’s more than just sandwich prices, this is a question of our rights and thus something that even our Constitution talks about. Now I’m going to throw out a few interesting points to consider about the footlongs.
You know how women get paid 76 cents for every dollar men get paid for the same work? I did the math calculation and people at other Subways pay 71 cents for every dollar that we pay for footlongs, and since 76 is bigger than 71 that means that we’re worse off than women. Maybe that is fine for another university but this is Notre Dame, the finest Catholic school in the country. We’re not paying $50,000 a year in tuition to be inferior to women! Not even women would be dumb enough to do that.
Here’s something else to consider, that I thought of when I was paying for laundry with coins. Does anyone else here have a coin bank? Well I do. You know how much money we would save if footlongs were five dollars? $1.99. That’s almost eight quarters, or 19 dimes, or 39 nickels, or even a 199 pennies. That’s a lot of coins to put in the coin bank! I bet I could wash my clothes with the money I saved, though I probably wouldn’t have enough to dry them afterwards if I paid with coins.
Here’s another aspect of this issue to think about: food. To live, everybody needs to eat food. But if food is too expensive, how can people afford to eat it? The answer is that they can’t afford to eat it, and so they won’t eat it. So they’ll starve.
I guess the strongest point in favor of making footlongs at the Lafortune Subway cost five dollars is that it’s a question of equal rights. The Bill of Rights guarantees everyone in America the same rights, so if we’re paying slightly more for a specific type of sandwich than other people do, that’s discrimination. It’s like apartheid, only it’s not in some faraway Third World country, it’s right here in America’s Heartland. And yet this grave and important issue has gone overlooked by our Observer.
So next time you’re out volunteering for an organization that fights sexual assault, or manning the suicide center crisis hotline, or participating in environmental activism, or working at a homeless shelter, keep in mind that there are bigger things out there than the little causes you work for. Jesus said “the poor you will always have with you,” and that goes for all the other causes, but this cause is something that affects everyone who purchases a footlong sandwich at the Lafortune Subway. I implore you: Fight for footlongs!
Brooks Smith is a junior math and english major at Notre Dame. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.