Friday, September 09, 2005

What's Labor Day all about?

Alan K. Henderson doesn't understand the need for Labor Day:

Abolish Labor Day

(Reprinted from 2003)

The US Department of Labor has a webpage on the history of Labor Day. The DoL describes the spirit of the holiday thus:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Why do we have a holiday dedicated to only one element of commerce?

Why have Labor Day? So that Macy's can have a sale. That's all any of our national holidays mean, except possibly the 4th of July. All the department stores, etc., have a big sale. Sometimes, somewhere, someone has a parade. Everyone goes away for the weekend. The television stations mention Labor Day or whatever and give us traffic statistics and weather reports. People who work get a day of--unless they work for a retail establishment.
Ask anyone under 25 why we have Memorial Day. Odds are they won't know. Martin Luther King Day? Macy's is having a sale.

Why not just call these holidays Bank Holidays as they do in England, and recognize that everyone gets a day off? (Except the retail workers, as mentioned.) They have been drained of all meaning.

Contrast Labor Day with Thanksgiving, when families get together. Or Christmas--people have parties, there are decorations, presents, excitement. Those holidays still mean something.

End of sermon. Put the soapbox away.

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