Today is Labor Day. Actually, yesterday was Labor Day. But yesterday was also the normal deadline for this blog, and blogging twice on Labor Day would seem to defeat the purpose.
In any event, Labor Day is one of the more interesting holidays. On the one hand, it is celebrated in much the same manner as every other summer -oriented holiday; with barbecues and car sales. Much as Memorial Day, in defiance of the tyranny of the solstice, is defined as the beginning of the summer season, Labor Day marks the season's end; so if someone wants to explain why it's still hot as hell outside, please do. Furthermore, Labor Day lets us know that it is no longer acceptable to wear white. I assume this matters to someone.
But like Christmas, Labor Day's public celebration and traditions obscure its true meaning; and also like Christmas, that meaning is evident in the name itself. It's Labor Day, a day for celebrating the dignity and power of workers, dating back to its adoption in the nineteenth century, amidst a wave of strikes and riots by upstart labor unions against monolithic corporate powers. The true meaning of Labor Day is good old American Leftism.
Apart from Martin Luther King Jr Day, we don't have any other federal holidays that explicitly support an avowedly liberal or leftist person or agenda. Memorial Day and Veteran's Day are explicitly about the military (the conservative movement's favorite government program), Washington's Birthday is devoid of almost any political character, and Thanksgiving and Christmas are soaked in (inevitably conservative) nostalgic goo. This isn't entirely surprising, given the nation's comparatively conservative character, and especially the bizarre flavor of patriotic display (Columbus Day, I'm looking at you).
The left is ascendant in American politics today (assuming they don't screw it up again), so I think special attention should be paid to liberal holidays like Labor Day. Maybe we could knock Columbus off his ill-gotten perch and give his spot on the calendar to someone like, say, FDR. We could call it Roosevelt Day, so that Republicans could close their eyes and pretend it's about Teddy. Because at the end of the day, the politics of a holiday have absolutely no effect on its suitability for grilling beef outdoors.
Happy Socialism Day, America.