What does Labor Day mean to you? You might be surprised to learn that this historic celebration is designed to recognize the American workers’ economic and social achievements both past and present. It all began during 1885-1886 in an effort to pay tribute to the workers who have strengthened the United States, making it one of the strongest and most prosperous countries in the world.
Today, in 2013, it is hard to imagine that so many of us, citizens and politicians alike, once came together to recognize that this country is built on the backs of its hard working citizens. That without the American worker, there would not be industry, corporations, and markets to argue over as we do today. Yet, here we are, arguing over whether or not every worker deserves health insurance. Seriously? Is this what we have come to?
Across the United States, businesses are closed, politicians are off vacationing somewhere, enjoying their family and friends, just as many hard working American’s are celebrating. My concern is that we have lost sight of what it is we are celebrating. I worry this country has become complacent in its ability to give credit where credit is due. That the times have become so hard, that we no longer have the capacity to pat each other on the back and say “good job.” Rather, we are more eager to pat our own selves on the back and say, “I did this, it was all me…look how good I am.”
I do argue that no company is successful without the support of its hard working labor force. Yes, the owner of a company and its administrative staff should enjoy those pats on the backs, as it was their concept, their money, and their drive that brought the company up, much like a child. Yet, the reality is, unless it is a one-man operation, there were many hands in creating a successful business endeavor. As such, I do believe that all of a company’s labor force should enjoy the fruits of their labor; they all should enjoy the benefits of this successful business venture, and each of them is entitled to be recognized for their contribution in strengthening the organization’s prosperity.
There will always be the “haves” and the “have nots” in this world. I believe this country has opportunities for everyone, but not all opportunities are equal. This country struggles with the concept of equality on the most basic of levels, despite the simplicity of its nature. Equality is not about money, although if you lack money, you will likely lack the opportunities that money tends to bring. However, it does not imply that there are not opportunities for those without money, merely, that there are fewer of them.
The mere fact that we must have a discussion surrounding providing health care to every citizen of this country proves that we struggle with the concept of equality. The availability of health care, the ability to become healthy, the opportunity to remain healthy, these are all necessities in life. That the very people we elect and pay to represent us feel that they are more “worthy” than anyone else to receive better health care or better options of health care, defies everything this country stands for. If there is not enough money in the coffers to feed your citizens, to clothe your citizens, to house your citizens, then there is not enough money in the coffers to pay you, my dear elected official.
Today we celebrate the achievements of hard working American’s, some of whom are hungry, homeless, and destitute…while our politicians enjoy the freedom provided through their elected position and the financial security that comes with it.