Tomorrow, like millions of my co-workers in the service sector, I will go to work while the rest of the population does whatever it is people do during minor holidays. Also, like several millions of my co-workers, we’ll probably complain about how “ironic” it is that we’re working during a holiday meant to honor the working man. In truth, we don’t deserve the holiday off. Not very many people do. The kind of labor Labor Day was created to honor has all but gone the way of the 5 day work week and vacation leave in America.
The first Labor Day was held in 1882, a creation of the labor movement. Later, in 1894, it was adopted as a national holiday, for a variety of reasons. It was a celebration of the “working man”, a yearly national tribute to the contributions American workers made to the strength, prosperity and general well-being of the country.
However, today’s “working man” doesn’t really contribute to the strength, prosperity or general well-being of the country. Instead, Americans are largely working for entities who do their utmost to give back to their country as they possibly can. Companies, corporations and other the other organizations are more like fiefdoms anymore. Like in the kingdoms of old, the central governing force has some control over them, but they’ve got some control over the government too. Sometimes, one could become so large and powerful, on its own or with the help of allies, it could overthrow the current rulers. It is a tenuous position.
This was even before globalization. Now, there are some companies so global, America could go down in flames and it probably wouldn’t matter.
The Trade Federation is real.
So, while I’m making people fatter and YUM! foods more money tomorrow, I’ll be thinking of what I’m doing to help make America what it is today. I hope everybody else does the same.
For those of you still working in a sector that actually does contribute to our national well-being, thank you. Someday I hope to join you.