America pauses once again to recognize the greatness of its workforce, the laborers who strive each day to put food on their family's table, to pay their bills, to create more opportunity for their children than they enjoyed, and to make a positive impact on their little but proud corner of these United States.
It is in the hands and hearts of our nation's workforce that the American Dream can be found even today.
According to the Department of Labor, Labor Day "constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."
Mississippi workers are a prime example of a workforce who builds opportunity for tomorrow while securing our freedoms today. We can be proud of our state this Labor Day.
Did you know?
Many may not realize it but Labor Day's roots as a national holiday did not enjoy an auspicious start.
The holiday began during the late 19th century as a result of the labor movement. It was first sought in municipalities by well meaning men and states soon began marking the day in honor of its workers. It wasn't until 1894 that President Grover Cleveland and Congress designated Labor Day as a federal holiday.
But there is more to this story.
Many believe President Cleveland pursued the holiday as a pacification for organized labor following the Pullman strike in Illinois which affected rail service in 27 states with a quarter of a million workers, split union allegiances, caused riots and deaths, and saw the military step in at Cleveland's behest to restore mail service and to keep law and order. Following the widespread incident, legislation for the holiday of Labor Day flew through Congress just six days after the strike ended, which is why it is believed to be a conciliatory act.
What's even more interesting is that the leader of the Pullman strike became a five time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party.
Eugene Debs founded the American Railway Union in 1893. During the 1894 Pullman strike, Debs and his ARU boycotted the Pullman Company for lowering wages but not lowering the rents on the company provided housing. Riots broke out, fueled by Debs, and rail cars were sabotaged resulting in deaths and millions of dollars in damages. Black workers were hired to replace the striking workers which escalated the tension.
Debs was eventually arrested on federal charges for conspiracy to obstruct the mail and for disobeying an order by the Supreme Court to stop the obstruction of railways and dissolve the boycott.
While in prison, Debs engrossed himself in who else but Karl Marx and following his release Debs became the leading socialist figure in the nation.
Socialism in Mississippi
Now I don't convey that story to dampen our observance of the holiday but rather as a cautionary tale when dealing with socialists.
And as luck would have it, we here in Mississippi will have a chance to be graced with the presence of self proclaimed socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) thanks to the Mississippi Democratic Party. (I trust the sarcasm is glaringly obvious.)
Mississippi Democratic Party Chairman Rickey Cole confirmed last Friday via Twitter that Sanders will do a town meeting at the Thad Cochran Jackson Medical Mall on October 16. When I tweeted about it Cole replied, "Yes, the Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs is visiting Mississippi. We should all be hospitable."
By all means, Mr. Chairman, let us be hospitable. But you can't expect me as a political observer and writer not to question the sanity of bringing in Sen. Sanders given his extreme left political viewpoint.
I'm sure Sen. Sanders will make the case for universal healthcare as he does each time he speaks of the VA. Perhaps that's why you're hosting him, to prep for the next round of the Medicaid expansion fight.
I do appreciate the easy fodder and the opportunity to once again question just how far left the Mississippi Democratic Party has moved.
Are Mississippi Democrats endorsing Sanders' socialistic beliefs - single payer universal healthcare, the demonization of industry and job creators, abortion and gay marriage, global warming, and the other positions Sanders holds that are diametrically opposed to the beliefs of a majority of Mississippians?
Are you seriously that out of touch, Mr. Chairman?
If the Mississippi Democratic Party thinks it can reengage voters, compete in 2014 federal races, make gains in the legislature and capture statewide offices in 2015 while attaching themselves at the hip with the likes of socialist Bernie Sanders then they have greater illusions of grandeur than even I thought.
Apparently these yellow dogs lost the scent of Mississippi voters back in 2007 and they are still chasing their own tails instead.
Oh, and Mr. Chairman, please take lots of pictures and share them on Facebook and Twitter. I'm sure many Mississippians would like to see just what Democratic officials attend this event and have their picture taken with Sen. Sanders. It will make their opponents' job easier during the next campaign.
So have a happy Labor Day, Mississippi... be on the look out for those socialists.
For your viewing pleasure, here are a couple classic clips of socialist Sanders.
Posted September 2, 2013 - 11:25 am