Summer is ending, but our economy’s Rocky Horror Show is not. The news is dominated by our continuing failure to create more jobs, while the President and the GOP bicker over who should have center stage to talk about solutions…three years into this mess. (“It’s astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes its toll.”)
So as you say good-bye to summer, I want to take a moment to review the oxymoron: a national day-off to celebrate labor. (“I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.”) But first I'll confirm your suspicions. Yes, the parentetical quotes are from the Rocky Horror stage and film cult phenomenons. Yes, I was once a member of that cult and knew the lines by heart, but I left it for another cult: the Bar.
The U.S. Department of Labor tells us that Labor Day “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.” The DOL doesn’t tell us that Labor Day was rushed through Congress by President Grover Cleveland to appease America’s labor movement a mere six days after his controversial use of federal troops forcibly ended the bloody Pullman strike that paralyzed rail traffic, and thus the country, during the summer of 1894.
Cleveland’s gesture didn’t work for him—his Democratic party was slaughtered in the 1894 midterm election—or help the labor movement that much either. Many needed reforms, such as reasonable working hours and safe working conditions, now taken for granted, would not be enacted for decades--decades that would include the infamous Triangle Factory fire and Colorado’s own Ludlow Massacre.
I’ve suggested on Labor Days past that we shouldn’t allow our nation’s slow pace of change, as reflected by the holiday’s story, discourage us. On this Rocky Horror Labor Day, I want to point specifically to our sad history of political gamesmanship (“If only we were among friends, or sane persons!”) and call for the rest of us to ignore the politicians. What if, instead, we worked on changes we can create without them?
There are over 30 million human-owned businesses in our America. If only five percent of us (that 5% includes you and me, right?) committed to hiring at least one new employee before New Year’s Eve, together we’ve created at least 1,500,000 new jobs. (“Don’t dream it, be it.”) Then maybe the politicos and the rest of the country will follow along.
So enjoy a day off, maybe see a “Science fiction double feature,” and then get back to the labors that made America great. (“You’re lucky, he’s lucky, I’m lucky, we’re all lucky.”)
I will close with my traditional photographic farewell to summer, but first "Let's do the Time Warp again."
|My alter ego Finch.|
|The Okapi's Best Friend.|
|The Original Pooh Characters.|