A Labor Day Pretense
I’d like to shake things up with this edition of Monday Unleaded, in light of the Labor Day holiday, and what I’ve perceived as a shaky year. If it isn’t the roller-coaster of our recovering economy, it’s folks like Paula Deen snubbing her supporters (I was actually among the few who thought she was being targeted unfairly), and George Zimmerman walking for killing an unarmed black teenager. And now, on the heels of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, I almost decided to keep quiet and enjoy the day off.
I’m certain the Man would have preferred me to do so. But the Kid, in typical fashion, feels otherwise. This Labor Day holiday, I have an appetite for destruction—not a barbeque or picnic.
The truth is that for all the economic and social progress we’ve made as a nation, it’s painfully obvious we still have a ways to go. And while there was a time I would have cringed at a statement like this, the adversity of 2013 has made me realize that both economic and social policy will always be a channel for injustice.
According to Wikipedia, Labor Day is an annual tribute to the social and economic progress of American workers. Many have contributed to the prosperity and well-being of our country, but there are also some who have hindered its growth. It’s not a coincidence that the agendas of Paula Deen and George Zimmerman were carried out through their occupations (or in Zimmerman’s case, what he perceived to be his occupation). Dr. King was well aware of work-related injustice; his trip to Memphis, Tennessee in support of sanitary public workers would cost him his life.
Labor Day is a Celebration of Social and Economic Progress? In today’s economic crisis? Hold the Barbeque, Dave!
The labor market, in general, is costing people their lives every day. From brutality and racial profiling, to outsourcing and sweatshops overseas, to the questionable practice of temporary contracting in corporate America; it seems the ruthlessness of our nation’s past has a lasting seat at the economic table. How does one celebrate Labor Day when healthcare and equal opportunity are denied to him and his countrymen? Or when some abuse the powers bestowed upon them and get away with it?
There’s no doubt the floodgates have opened since the days of Dr. King. Equality is being realized, and people of all races have experienced a considerable amount of success. But we needn’t think this is enough, or that the fight is over. Every misstep and setback—if not corrected—makes the idea of America an abstract. So as we celebrate this Labor Day holiday and everything we’ve achieved as a nation, let us not forget our own influence and responsibilities, or the long and winding road that lies ahead.
This is your Monday Unleaded for the week of September 1, 2013. Have a great holiday and productive week!
Labor Day (It’s a Holiday) – Black Eyed Peas