Sometimes I really do believe that we are all doing the very best we can and at other times, not so much.  I recently read an article about a woman who entered a fast-food restaurant and took issue with some of the employees who were speaking a language other than English to each other.  This did not interfere with the woman’s attempt to order or receive her meal, but it apparently interfered with her sense of propriety in “Mickey Dee’s.”  She proceeded to lambast the two people conversing with each other and the manager as well, for not forcing them to speak English only.  I wonder if that was her true best since their conversation was not directed to her nor intended to engage her.  It’s funny that I should have come across the story because it made me wonder about the way we think about and treat the average, nameless worker in our society, and the actual origins of the Labor Day holiday which we will celebrate next week.

In lots of ways, we take the holiday for granted, never really stopping to consider the honor and respect due the American worker for the material success of the United States.  This was true even after the first Monday in September had been declared a legal national holiday in 1894.  And still today, migrant workers remain one of the most disenfranchised groups within this country.

With the full flex of the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century came 12-hour workdays, 7 days a week for the average American worker.  This included 6,7, and 8-year-old children.  The Haymarket riots in Chicago in 1886 are considered the origin of the labor movement.  The clash between the police and workers resulted in deaths and eventual arrest and capital punishment for at least four workers charged with being instigators of the rebellion.  I don’t believe any of us consider the enormous sacrifice that many of our national nameless ancestors encountered to allow us the privilege of celebrating Labor Day Holiday with food, fireworks, and fun.  And THAT is truly the RUB.

People like A. Philip Randolph, Cesar Chavez, Larry Itliong, and Dolores Huerta were paramount, especially for the many people of color who did the work that other Americans disdained to do.  How often do we eat a cucumber or anything else without giving thanks for the ones who prepared the soil, planted, harvested, and transported them all to market for the rest of us to purchase and consume?  We all need each other so where do we go when we forget this very significant fact?

The average worker in this country goes in to work to do the tasks assigned for the compensation agreed upon.  It is a strictly quid pro quo agreement.  Our personal likes and dislikes can certainly be rectified by withholding our business from some enterprises and patronizing others.  We have the human responsibility to do our personal best though, to honor other human beings who are just trying to do their personal best.  What if our judgment of the other is a projection of our own psyche through our own eyes?  After all, who was it who said, “why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own?”  And yes, the sword cuts both ways! 😊

I hope you will enjoy your Labor Day in gratitude with food, family, and fun…and fireworks if available.

Feeling Grateful for the opportunity to do my Best,
Freda Marie+