Labor Day has fallen prey, like so many other days and dates of significance, to commercialism and triviality; meaning nothing more to most of us than a long weekend, a day to party and drink or our last official weekend of summer (so much so, that you’d better never be caught wearing white after today!).
Someone told me once that most moments can be treated as “teachable moments”; so, even though I know most of you will not be reading this in ‘real time’ (because you’re more than likely on Eastern Parkway or just thinking about getting up from last night’s drunk to begin today’s), I will still leave the information here; knowledge has no expiration date J
In 1882, Labor Unions created this holiday to honor workers, mostly immigrants, who were organizing themselves against appalling wages and inhuman working conditions. Many workers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries struggled and sometimes lost their lives to improve wages and work conditions. Isn’t it ironic that we immigrants, most of us ignorant to the meaning of this day, view it simply as a day to ‘wine’, jump up and drink?
Very much like Christmas and Easter, we have collectively morphed in to a people content to ignore anything but what’s residing on the surface; too lazy, non-committal and lacking in the true sense of responsibility it will take to live up to the meaning and significance of these dates. Then, to add insult to injury, or because they are smart enough to monopolize on our ignorance and simplistic behavior, the auto, electronic and mattress industries (to name the most aggressive) parade their wares in front of us; seducing our consumerism. Sigh.
Listen, all I am saying is that I would like to see more evidence of knowledge with regard to our history and heritage. It would be fantastic if we would stop selectively trotting out said history only when it suits us or makes for a great “sound bite”. Roll your eyes; but in an honest and transparent moment, you know that you will have to acknowledge the validity in these words. In no way am I saying that we stop partying and enjoying ourselves; I am Trini for God’s sake! But what I am saying is that we spend (and I am not crazy, so I will not even suggest the same amount of time) some time educating ourselves, in an effort to knowledgeably participate in the decision to do or not. Case in point – Halloween.
Okay; I’ll stop (for now). Enjoy your day; however you spend it. Be safe.