Dear Editor: Contrary to the perception given by popular culture, Christmas was not originally about Santa Claus and consumerism, Halloween and Easter were not about buying and consuming massive amounts of candy, and Labor Day was not created for consumers to go on spending binges at Labor Day sales.
Only in a crazed capitalist society like ours could a day to honor workers be turned into a day where conspicuous consumption is elevated to an art form. The number of ads for Labor Day sales across media outlets is mind-numbing. Everything from potato salad to bedding, from cars to back-to-school items is hawked across the airwaves in a relentless appeal to Americans to “save money” by spending it — money that many people have much less of these days due to economic policies that are taking real money away from real people and redistributing it upward to those who already have more than enough.
Instead of giving workers the day off to show appreciation for their dedication and effort, instead of honoring labor for creating the wealth that does exist in this country, retail employers make employees work even longer days as they try to squeeze every last penny out of every last shopper on a day that should be sacred to workers.
This year, instead of stopping at the grocery store for that last-minute item, instead of giving in to the siren call of manipulative advertising, think about spending time, not money. Think about going to a Labor Day picnic or event where workers are honored, not used. Think about volunteering somewhere. Take some time to write a legislator. Do something to improve the cause of all the workers who are struggling to survive in our current downward spiral.
Instead of buying extra food on the holiday think about making a donation to a food pantry or to striking workers somewhere. Think about what the day should mean and honor it in some way other than consuming more.
On Labor Day, the honor should not be on the dollar. It should be on the front-line workers who make those dollars possible. Let us honor those workers by refusing to support businesses that do not honor their own employees.
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