I got to thinking about Labor Day as I was watching the funeral of Senator McCain. It was when the 8 members of the Armed Forces carried his casket into the cathedral. They moved as one: graceful, gentle, and with sad purpose. It was the image of these 8 men from different parts of our military that made me wonder why the rest of our government doesn’t work that way.
Work. The great equalizer in this nation that came to be because we were tossing off the yoke of an aristocracy. No more lords and ladies, titles and entitlements. Just people who worked hard to build a country from scratch. It wasn’t perfect, and parts of it were terribly wrong. Treatment of the aboriginal population was horrendous and evil. Slavery was horrendous and evil. There have been no real reparations, nothing that can ever fully make up for the rape and pillage of those populations. We take baby steps, but it's a long, slow, arduous process that continues to repress and suppress their progress as citizens of this country. Well, almost citizens. Many aboriginal groups remain in status limbo, their tribal affiliations remain contested.
Labor Day started as a way to openly protest the treatment of workers. That concept was spearheaded by unionists and labor movement organizers. But I don't want to write a history of the labor movement, a cause near and dear to my maternal family's heart. I have enough trouble understanding how voters in some of the poorest regions in this country can continue to support a man who considers them little more than squashable bugs.
The whole point of Labor Day was to recognize the workers who were in danger of being abused by employers. The unions and the labor movement changed the way workers work forever. YOU benefit from that movement if you have paid holidays, vacation days, health insurance, or retirement benefits. Whether you're an hourly or a salaried worker, the people who stood on those picket lines have changed your life. If, on Labor Day, a day that was to marked with a morning parade followed by an afternoon picnic, the only thing you can think of is the mattress sale at Bob's Beds, you've missed the point. Go straight to Google, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00. Look up what you don't know, and say thank you to those who came before you so you can go to the sale at Bob's.
There was no parade in my town, nor were there picnics because it kept raining. Instead, I read up on Labor Day, how it came to be, and how we no longer partake in those traditional events. Our society doesn't view a day off as time for reflection, however I chose to do a little digging on opposition commentary. I was really looking for two things: threats of violence from either side, and warnings for the post-midterm results. What I found was terrifying.
From the right, I saw calls-to-arms, instructions on how to become a better sniper, how to mobilize if a Democrat unseats your Republican incumbent. The word "Antifa" is bandied about as if it described some far left-wing DNC cabal when it's clear to anyone who knows how to google anything that that is not the case at all. But that's not good enough for those on the far right who, instead, march with tiki-torches, cross-body bandoliers, and semi-automatic weapons down city streets. I think Bette Midler said it best:
|Doodle by illustrator Nancy Carlson|
It is far easier for the devotees of the Cult of 45 to assign that level of nonsense to Democrats, than to recognize the increasing number of steps toward mid-20th century European style fascism. You cannot read about presidential economic adviser Larry Kudlow admitting his office is "taking a look" at whether or not Google should be regulated by the government, and, if so, how to best go about doing it. Sounds more like Ping than Putin, but hey! Any dictator in a storm.
And for the record, just so you know, inflation is running at 2.9%, basically wiping out any improvement in take-home pay from the tax cuts. Added to that the refusal to sign the 2.1% pay increase for federal employees means that rather large sector just lost more ground. But it's okay. The president can still afford to play golf.
On a different note, this is the week before Rosh ha'Shannah, and my thoughts are already turned inward to my personal year-in-review. The first night is next Sunday, so there may not be a blog on Monday unless I get one out early Sunday afternoon. After that, it's family time. There will be plenty of sweet, round challot, apples, and local honey.
To those who observe, L'shana Tovah tikatavu. To those who do not, a sweet and happy New Year, anyway. May this coming year be one of healing for our nation.
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Jewish or not, take a moment to notice where you stand.
Are you where you want to be?