What we have in this country is socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the poor. - Gore Vidal
So that I wouldn’t end up feeling overly suicidal I confined my search to the editorial pages of two newspapers, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and the Northwest Arkansas Times, hoping to find at least one writer in their crews who actually knows what today is, and still has a modicum of respect for the working class.
Yes, I know, sometimes I am just too naive to be allowed to wander the streets alone.
The only piece of writing I could find was the editorial in the ADG, in which the writer could not bring themselves (or himself - do any women write for the ADG editorial page any more?) to actually write the words, “Labor Day.”
In fact, even before “intellectual labor leaders” are mentioned (in the same sentence that dismisses the efforts of politicians) the writer lays wreaths on the altars of John D. Rockefeller and Sam Walton as being among those who have elevated our way of life far more than any of those other charlatans.
Ah, the ADG - sycophantic to a fault, even on Labor Day.
But the writer, not content to merely dismiss the efforts of those who fought for American workers, went on to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, the wrong sort of people were being honored today:
"Let the labor that is celebrated on this holiday be the opposite of drudgery: the kind of labor that frees, not deadens, the soul."
No, not poetry, Irritated Reader, but the bosses of America, the job creators - the John Galts of America, if you will.
“Every man an entrepreneur! The phrase “working class” rings foreign to our ears despite all the efforts of those who would pigeonhole us . . .”
Like many modern-day conservatives, the writer shamelessly uses “slavery” and “welfare state” in the same sentence.
The writer also claims that, unlike those rascally Europeans, folks here in America just see “labor” as a means to and end (not starving?), even, maybe:
“ . . . perhaps a stage that one passes through on the way to becoming just another anonymous millionaire. Note the prevalence in this society of the extra shift, the business on the side, the start-up that Americans tend to tack on to their day jobs.”
They do this so they can pay their bills, so they can stay in their homes, and not have their utilities turned off, and feed their children, and put them through college.
I wrote a letter to a newspaper a few weeks ago (which still languishes out there somewhere, unpublished) in which I wrote that, given our situation, it was time that newspapers started carrying columns written by members of the working class again.
There are lots of brave souls out there willing to attack "entitlements,” and some liberals who will speak on behalf of the working class. But the times call for working class writers to be heard once more, loud and clear.
I’m not even going to watch TV news today
On Memorial Day the news will cover the military, on the shopping day after Thanksgiving news crews will rush over to department stores for the same tired footage of berserk shoppers, every holiday we have shots of food kitchens.
But Labor Day?
TV news folks will prattle on about how folks spend their day off, or maybe, just maybe, the latest unemployment figures. Then it’s on to Sports!
Quote of the Day
Times have changed since a certain author was executed for murdering his publisher. They say that when the author was on the scaffold he said goodbye to the minister and to the reporters, and then he saw some publishers sitting in the front row below, and them he did not say goodbye. He said, “I’ll see you again.” - Sir James Barrie