Editorial: Labor Day marks an end -- and a new beginning

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Labor Day always feels like a turning point.

While there are plenty of warm days ahead, Labor Day signals that fall is just around the corner.

It’s too late to wear white shoes and too early for tweeds. Gradually, though, as September advances into official fall, heavier clothes are pulled, piece by piece, from hibernation. First, the long pants. Then, a sweater. Soon, a turtleneck.

School is back in session. Time to get serious. Even those of us long past school days shift internally to the academic calendar in September, as well as in June.

In the summer, work feels like a rude intrusion into our personal lives. We feel put upon for having to show up. Vacations are nice but they don’t quite slake the hunger for an endless stretch of carefree days, a pattern set way back in elementary school.

After Labor Day, work takes a turn back toward the routine and purposeful. Play is nice, but people need to do something useful with their days.

Each Labor Day, we’re reminded of relevant issues in frustrating and visible ways, including teacher strikes or the threat of them. Beyond right and wrong, fair and unfair, the push-pull nature of the labor-management relationship is in our faces. We are reminded of the importance of working people and the jobs they do to keep our nation strong. Sometimes teachers and other groups of workers feel they have to stop doing their jobs for a time to remind the rest of us that they are valued and should be appropriately rewarded for their skills. And so, they work with management to define “appropriate,” and we all move on.

It’s appropriate on this day to acknowledge that while some of us are able to take the day off to relax, so many others cannot because they do vital jobs in hospitals and public safety agencies. We salute them, particularly.

Politicians see Labor Day as their turning point, too, and that’s more apparent in this prepresidential-election year more than ever before, most likely. While the race toward the primaries usually just gets going strong after Labor Day of the previous year, it already feels like it’s in full swing. We haven’t seen anything yet. With states playing gotcha and moving up their primary deadlines to the point that voters in some states could go to the polls before the end of the year, the campaign is going to get crazy starting next week. Look for unprecedented spending and ubiquitous candidates.

So, enjoy today. Even some of the politicians have said they would knock off and spend time just chilling with their families. Actually, they are not relaxing, but recharging, Energizer-Bunny style, to keep going and going and going.

Never mind. Leave it for tomorrow.

Rockford Register Star