Will McDonald of Royals Review has an excellent post today. In it he wonders why Major League Baseball can see fit to honor Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Earth Day and cancer awareness with special hats or some other on-the-field shoutout, but not see fit to give Labor Day similar due.
He admits that special caps are a rather minor gesture and that they’re, you know, kind of ugly, but says “so be it, I want ugly hats thanking and remembering the efforts made by millions to build this country.” In short, if it’s good enough for the Fourth and Memorial Day, why not our nation’s workers?
Sadly, this is probably a reflection of where we are now as a society. Organized labor makes up a smaller portion of the workforce than it ever has. Even a great many of the people who do the working in this country have bought in to the notion — propogated by those who profit from labor — that unions are tools of the communists and giving any lip service to the rights of workers is a suspect and even un-American pursuit.
But viewing labor — and, by extension, Labor Day — in such narrow terms is a mistake. Sure, there is an obvious political overtone to any conversation about labor. But as McDonald notes, people have died in the name of worker’s rights. People continue to die on the job to this day and always will. Against that backdrop, to reduce Labor Day to an extra day off and to divorce it from its original purposes is just as much a mistake as doing so with Memorial Day or any other holiday which has at its heart a noble and reverent inspiration.
No, red white and blue caps aren’t terribly important in the grand scheme of things. And I’d probably still say they looked bad if they wore them today, just as I do on Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. But I would like the chance to mock Major League Baseball’s attempts to mark the occasion. Because if I had that chance it means that Major League Baseball would be marking the occasion.
Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone. But remember why we have a Labor Day to begin with.