Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Funday: Thanks To Those Who Really Built It

While there is some desire to talk about the poor choice of Clint Eastwood, or Mitt Romney's policy-free acceptance speech, we're going to stick to our Friday tradition today, of stepping a bit away from direct political discussion to concentrate on something positive.

Frankly, that's easy to do today. There are a huge number of things we're thankful for, as our staff begins a three day weekend.

To start with, we're thankful for a well-funded and well prepared Federal Emergency Management Agency. We know a few people in Louisiana and Mississippi, and while many there are living through scenes reminiscent of the floods in Nebraska and Iowa in 2011, there have been no mass fatalities, and very few problems, relatively speaking.

We're also thankful that the Republican National Convention is over, though we're certain the event center and service industry workers in Tampa will be cleaning up for a few more days.

This is also the first weekend of college football, specifically Husker Football. The NFL is also gearing up for its regular season, as evidenced by star players finally coming off the bench and getting into the pre-season games. From fan pages and blogs, to Facebook and Twitter, it's obvious that millions of football fans are thankful the semi-official start of Fall is here.

We're also thankful for all those who are still working this weekend, while we enjoy three days off to rest and recharge.

What we're most thankful for, however, are those individuals who came together to build the system of workers rights in America. The very concept of having "time off" is one that was fought for - that some even died for - by Americans who joined together with workers in unions for the better good.

If your pay, or your work schedule is based (even loosely) on the idea of a 40 hour work week, big business bosses didn't do that for you - and you certainly didn't do that yourself. Organized labor and collective bargaining did that. Corporations have fought the 40-hour work week for generations, and they have a long history of trying to get around that rule whenever they can.

Unions also gave us all the eight hour day, and the 40 hour work week with corresponding weekend. Labor unions helped all Americans to get the minimum wage too.

No matter what slogan or out-of-context quote some political hack gins up, the fact remains that there are very few things in America that individuals built completely one-hundred percent on their own, without help from others.

That convention center in Tampa where the GOP faithful gathered? That was built largely with the help of public funds. The one in South Carolina where the Democrats will meet to re-nominate President Obama is no different in that respect. The electricity and communications that flow to both of those buildings wasn't built by a single individual either.

No matter what your current economic status is, or what you think of labor unions and the American working class, without private businesses working together with state, local, and federal government, your life and the lives of millions of people would be drastically different - and likely MUCH worse.

Like it or not, we're all in this together.

Thankfully, there were those who came before us who were willing to work together, who labored to give Americans the kind of modern nation where we can all watch the game together this weekend, even when our staff is scattered around the country.

To those who truly understand none of this is possible by oneself - thank you, and happy Labor Day.

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