Charlie Pierce, as usual, has it precisely right in today’s “Labor Day Is Inconvenient for the People Who Run This Country.”
None of our national holidays have moved as far from its original founding purposes as Labor Day has. This is because most of the people and corporations—which, of course, are indistinguishable from each other; thank you, Justice Kennedy—who have monetized our holidays would rather not have anything to do with the founding purposes of Labor Day. The politicians whom they have sublet feel much the same way.
They have no real moral qualms about turning Memorial Day into a celebration of American barbecue, or the Fourth of July into a carnival of gluttonous alcoholism, but they really don’t want Americans remembering that we celebrate the first weekend in September not because of the Americans who died at Gettysburg or Normandy but, rather, that we celebrate the first weekend in September because of the Americans who died at Homestead, and at Ludlow in Colorado, and at Matewan. But that is what this day is for, even now, in a right-to-work, de-unionized global economy, and in a year in which a guy who got rich on cheap labor is wandering the landscape pretending to care about the working class.
Anyway, I hope you had a good day off and remembered to thank, in at least one toast, the people who fought and died for your right to have a day off.
He closes with a classic version of Florence Reece singing “Which Side Are You On?”
Even in cobalt blue Montgomery County, it’s often hard to tell where people stand with respect to working people. I know which side I’m on. Do you?