Why the heck do we have a Labor Day anyway?

Let's take a little trip in the Wayback machine to the last quarter of the 19th century:

1884 - Grover Cleveland , Democrat, elected president

·    corruption, trusts, suppression of civil rights

1888 - Benjamin Harrison, Republican, elected president

·    civil service reform (largely blocked by Democrats and corrupt Republicans)
·    civil rights enforcement of voting rights for African Americans (largely blocked by Democrats and corrupt Republicans)
·    modernization of U.S. military
·    reciprocal tariffs against tariff-exacting countries in Central America and Europe
·    currency stabilization, silver coinage
·    antitrust legislation (Sherman Antitrust Act)
·    beginning of electrification
·    ecological progress -- national forests, historic site preservation
·    price of German pork products skyrockets due to U.S. tariff reciprocation to German embargo of U.S. pork
·    Wounded Knee -- not good!
·    wage stagnation -- not good!
·    lost shaky majority in congress in mid-term elections, legislative agenda blocked -- not good!

1892 - Grover Cleveland, Democrat, elected president  -- again!

·    gold standard comes back: given international speculation in gold, destabilizes currency
·    corruption, trusts, suppression of civil rights
·    massive recession / inflation / unemployment -- the "Panic of  1893"
·    rise of "big money" (J.P. Morgan, et al.) in Federal government
·    worker riots
·    violent suppression of Pullman riots / anarchists
·    Cleveland signs Labor Day Holiday act June 28, 1894
·    Cleveland uses 12,000 U.S. military personnel to shut down railroad strike

A-a-and, back to the present.

So.  What did we learn?  Let's see.  The press has always been corrupt and always full of liars? Labor bosses back Democrats and expect the workers to go back and lick the hand that beat them?  Supporting a return to the gold standard is either engaging in crazy cargo cult economics or paving the way for manipulation by trusts and cartels?  Republicans have always been the real environmentalists?

Yes, but what does that have to do with Labor Day?

It's a bone Democrat Cleveland threw the American Federation of Labor after beating down the Pullman Strike.  But he was only recognizing a thing that was already happening.

It turns out that starting in Manhattan in the early 1880s there were worker parades in early September.  It's kind of like declaring, "We may be powerless, but we can party!"

So Labor Day is a nationally established secular version of every Jewish holiday:  "They tried to kill us; they didn't; let's party!"

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