The Passive Meaning Of Work

bench couple

Retooling the purpose of a public park...

TODAY, AMERICANS AWAKEN TO ANOTHER HOLIDAY with the bustling of waterside picnics, star-studded telethons, budget-friendly car sales, and a cascade of sports events suited up as far as the camera can field. Summer holidays all seem the same, flag-waving and potato salad, white sales and peculiar packaging of the same old song and dance.

By 1914, the American Federation of Labor was deeply disturbed by this tendency to depoliticize what they saw as a holiday to aggrandize labor unions and try to brainwash the masses with socialist propaganda. “Shall Labor Day lose its distinctive character and become a mere holiday for general meaningless purposes and for the exploitation for private profit?” a union publication asked. “Some labor organizations … have abandoned regular Labor Day demonstrations, parades, meetings, addresses, in the belief that such expenditure of time, effort and money is wasteful. This is a most serious mistake. … Observance of the day is a means of educating public thought and agents for molding public opinion in regard to the principles and purposes of the labor movement.”

Having turned away from the seventh day as a day of rest from all our labors to shop and shame our Maker in menial tasks, even as a conservative, one should empathize with people whose choice or right to work in order to support himself and his family is often blighted by economic forces which make this task an even more arduous one. Have Americans forgotten how to recall the history of a great nation and a great people with any other spirit short of merchandizing it to death?

The life sentence given to humanity by Yahweh to Adam that ye shall work by the sweat of your brow can often, in this ruthless roulette game, begin as or become a pleasurable task followed by a satisfying if not formidable reward for one's labor, but far too often far too few of these outcomes are presented to the larger dispossessed sectors of humanity. Enter politics the savior.

And MANKIND has been chasing its own tale ever since.

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