It really never ceases to amaze me what you folks come up with to celebrate, but more than that, how you royally screw up the whole reason for the celebration in the first place. I mean, I totally get the “War on Christmas!” That is the only dang holiday you have that makes any sense. Ok, and the Zombie Chocolate Bunny Day, that one is pretty cool too. Though I must say, when a rabbit leaves brown pellets for you, it doesn’t matter how much neon colored grass you surround the crap with, it still isn’t chocolate. And that one where you blow stuff up on the 4th of July, terrorizing babies and dogs and quite often setting private property aflame or watching your fingers explode through sheer drunken stupidity… Yeah, that is one a goblin can stand behind. Way behind… Out of your firing range.
But then you have days like today. Labor Day! The last day of summer! The start of the school year! No more white to wear! Sales, sales, sales!
No. Just bloody no.
First off, the last day of summer is actually September 23rd, in the western hemisphere at least. This is what is know as the Autumnal Equinox, where the length of day and night is roughly equal and we start the slide towards winter.
Secondly, school started weeks ago in most places. The changing climate, and the insane need to test everything and quantify learning, has pretty much demanded as many days of having those little brats in school as possible. Not that I am complaining. But if you are going to celebrate the start of the school year, at least have the kids in the friggen school!
No more white to wear? Whatever. Wear whatever you want. This rule actually came about in society so that snobby, rich, old-money women could tell who was one of them, and who was just a poser with new money that should be shunned. Seriously. Just like sleeve lengths, bodice cuts, bustle size, and just about every other “rule” with clothing, this one was a way to show superiority, which pretty much flies in the face of everything Labor Day is supposed to be about! Wearing white helps keep you cool. If it is hot out, wear it! But also wear deodorant, because really, nobody wants to see your white shirt all dripping with sweaty pits.
This brings us to the real reason for the holiday. Sweaty pits, money, and oppression.
Labor Day was instated to help appease the working class masses in 1887 by President Grover Cleveland. Almost every other industrialized nation celebrates International Worker’s Day on May 1st. (That day was picked in part to smash out pagan celebrations, but I don’t care. We are talking about today, not bloody May!) So why doesn’t the US (and Canada) celebrate on May 1st? Because there was a big awful massacre of workers in Chicago on May 4th, 1886 and the government wanted people to forget that it had ever happened. Celebrating the workers on May 1st would keep the horror fresh in people’s minds, and thus give the working class even more incentive to unionize and fight back against the fat cat robber barons of industry.
But! The people needed a day, a day off from work, a day to celebrate all the awesome things that the labor movement in America had given them. Like weekends. Like an 8 hour work day, and a 40 hour work week. Like no more children slaving in factories and mines. You know, basic workers rights that everyone takes for granted now that they have them, but that people marched, and fought, and DIED to secure.
Right, you say! This is when we celebrate the soldiers who died to secure our freedom from communism and Nazi fascism…
Those people are great, and should be celebrated. But that is not what this holiday is about. You are thinking of Memorial Day. Today is about the folks who were arrested and hung for daring to stand up to their bosses (and the government) in an attempt to earn some basic human rights for their fellow laboring persons. This is a holiday set in place after the President Cleveland ordered troops in to deal with the Pullman strike (a strike which was, granted, generally opposed by the populace, destructive, and violent) as a way of smoothing things over with the Unions that had been working, and dying, for the rights mentioned above.
And so, how do you celebrate the struggles of the common American worker on this day that was to serve as a reminder of the things that your ancestors had died to achieve for you?
Sales! Sales! Sales!
That’s right. You go shopping to spend your hard earned money on crap you don’t need from employees who don’t get the day off because their bosses are more concerned with taking your money than taking care of their workers. The folks who are still struggling, every day, to make ends meet in crappy jobs where they can’t unionize and have few rights that those who are off today enjoy ARE WORKING TODAY! On this day that celebrates the worker, those at the bottom don’t even get the danged day off.
So enjoy your sales. Enjoy the smiling faces on the cashiers, greeters, waiters, etc. They have to smile. If they don’t, they could be fired. Hurrah for the downtrodden American worker! Hurrah for basic rights, paid sick leave, time off to be with your family, and a decent living wage… Oh wait, you don’t have that? Maybe because all of you out there shopping and dining today are stabbing your fellow workers in the back! You are all stooges, marching to the drumbeat of rich marketing execs and greedy CEOs. You won’t ever get anywhere if you can’t even acknowledge and understand what you are celebrating. Wake up and smell the money folks? It smells like blood. People died for your rights in the workplace, and this is how you honor them?
Whatever… I’m done here. Great deal today at Wal-Mart on toilet paper. Don’t want to miss that!