2 RHINO TIMES | Thursday, September 7, 2017 | www.rhinotimes.com

The Weekly Hammer


Why Labor Day

by John Hammer Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. The official end of summer is Sept. 22. In odd numbered years like this one, it is also the unofficial kickoff of the City Council campaign season. In keeping with that, a lot of political campaign signs went up over the long weekend.

Doesn?t Get a Parade

It?s appropriate that Labor Day is the kickoff of the campaign season because there cannot be a more political holiday. Following the Pullman Strike of 1894 ? where the US Army was called out and killed some strikers ? Congress and President Grover Cleveland were looking for a way to make peace with the unions (or to be more accurate were looking for a way to win union votes) and a few days after the strike Labor Day became a national holiday. Until I looked it up, I didn?t know that Labor Day was a day to celebrate unions. I?ve never been a fan of unions, but you have to take holidays when you can get them. It is kind of amazing that Labor Day has survived when so many holidays seem to have fallen by the wayside ? at least as far as businesses are concerned. The federal government continues to close down for all kinds of holidays that nobody else has recognized in decades. But the fact that Labor Day should be called Union Day explains why, at least in North Carolina, there is no big celebration. In fact, unlike other holidays, there are virtually no traditional Labor Day events. Other holidays? traditions include people dressing up in red white and blue and marching around the neighborhood; setting off loud, colorful and dangerous explosive devices; having traditional big family arguments over whether dinner should be served hot or after the football game ends; toting dead trees into the house; requiring late night drinking; running around the yard looking for wildly colored chicken embryos that were reportedly distributed by a large lagomorph; or children going from house to house threatening homeowners with dire consequences if they don?t hand over some candy. Often things that don?t make sense are because of politics, and Labor Day seems to fit the mold. There is no tradition for Labor Day because it was invented for mostly political reasons. It?s not like other holidays where the government recognized a celebration already taking place as worthy of a holiday. In some states school doesn?t start until after Labor Day, which is a mixed (continued on next page)

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