Tomorrow is Labor Day here in the U.S. Everyone should have the day off, but likely many need to work even on this day.
Started in 1894, Labor Day honors the working men and women of our nation, to give them a break from toil and hardship, to let them parade and stand up for workers’ rights and better working conditions. Today in some quarters this need is still great–along with other needs like freedom to be oneself without blame or persecution.
I guess there’s just a lot to labor for. Fairness, justice, a clean environment, more time with our kids, the ending of war, poverty, hatred, dishonesty. The list could go on and on.
In a democracy–if we are to keep it–we need to labor for it. We can’t just assume it will always be around. Autocratic leaders would love to make it disappear. An autocrat wants all the power in his hands alone. Autocrats would like to knock down all long-established government agencies, departments, systems that our country has worked so hard to set up to serve its citizens. Imagine if we lost our Constitution. Imagine if we lost the freedoms it establishes. Imagine if we lost our three branches of government (legislative, executive, and judicial). Imagine not having FEMA when a tornado hits. Imagine retiring at 70 and having no social security. Imagine the chaos we’d experience without courts and laws. Imagine no national highways or bridges. Imagine no space exploration. Imagine no national parks. Imagine no means for international relations with the rest of the world, whether for trade or peace or being a light for other nations who struggle for their own democracy and look to our example, for we are a beacon to many.
We each have a colossal role to play. We have a duty to democracy. We have to live what it means and entails. Freedom of religion, speech, the press, rights to assemble and petition, should never be infringed. Nothing dishonest, corrupt, nor conspiratorial should have sway. We must labor to keep our democratic form of government by letting honesty, integrity, moral courage, and appreciation of others guide our every act.
I like to think of Labor Day as a reminder to live up to our immense responsibility as citizens of a democratic society. Our labor for justice, for goodness, for freedom, for rights for all–no matter how huge a challenge–is never in vain.
Artwork: Colossal, framed watercolor, 42″ x 34″ Just back from the framer, this is my most recent piece and I love it. Hope you do too.