It's that time of year again when we say goodbye to summer pleasures over the labor day weekend and get ready for school, fall, elections, winter holidays and all things long sleeved and cozy. We will be hanging out this weekend around the house and enjoying the three days off. This is our Labor Day.
Labor day has an interesting and perhaps unknown origin in Canada going back to the 1870s. For a look at the history of this Holiday go here. To summarize the history; it began as a celebration of trades and trade unions and evolved into what it is today. It is ironic that we find ourselves in the worst time ever for unions and trades in the US. Starting with Reagan killing the air traffic controllers union and moving forward through the massive exodus of manufacturing and value added jobs from our country to the takeover of our economy by wall street, we have witnessed the fastest and deepest decline in the value of work since the great depression.
I count myself as lucky to be holding down a job with benefits in this economy. Without a job we would have no health insurance. The events of this week made me all the more aware of the precariousness of our situation. My wife had surgery this week and was diagnosed with cancer. Currently we await the results of the biopsies to know what we will do next. It feels like swimming in a sea of uncertainty.
My hope is that the stage and type of cancer will allow quick and successful treatment. In this coming battle we face I know that attitude is everything, so I am doing my best to stay positive and supportive. I am also focusing on enjoying every minute, no every second, with my wife from this moment forward.
I remain extremely hopeful for our personal situation, but remain less than optimistic about the future of labor and labor unions in our nation. The toxic politics of the Republican party have managed to demonize everything beneficial for the working class by masking the war on the middle class in issues like gay marriage, abortion, immigration, regulatory reform and taxes. I fear for our country that the so-called conservatives will take control of congress and move forward on useless foreign wars, massive defense spending, tax cuts for the rich and loose to nonexistent oversight of the financial powers that brought this country so close to economic collapse just 3 years ago.
So while I will be enjoying the time off to spend with my sweety, I will not be celebrating Labor Day so much as grieving the demise of its namesake. Somehow it feels more like a wake than a Holiday to me.