The exploited are born when they walk out of underfunded high schools and into places like the U.S. Army Career Center on the corner of East 161st Street and Gerard Avenue. It’s a popular spot because fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the only jobs left in this neighborhood.
Those who make it home with all their arms and legs ride the D train to downtown construction sites where buildings rise because the bankers and brokers need new offices and they want fancy condos to replace rent-controlled apartments.
The exploited work all day and come home sore and tired and can’t sleep because they close their eyes and see the war. The people in the offices and the condos never see the war.
The exploited might escape to Yankee Stadium sometimes. Maybe they saw Roger Clemens – the greatest pitcher in history – win some of those 354 games.
Maybe they like to talk about that and tell of the time they saw Clemens when he came to visit the soldiers in Afghanistan. He might have signed an autograph and played catch and showed them something their country never has: Kindness and decency.
Then one day they see Clemens exploited by the same politicians that started the wars and have made sure there are no good schools and no good jobs and no decent housing and no healthcare for soldiers or anyone else.
They are upset and try to sleep, but they only see the war and the politicians that sent them there.
Then they roll over and see the baseball sitting on the shelf: Roger Clemens #22.
He is one of them now.