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I have mixed feelings on Labor Day.

I reject the foreign and ironically un-egalitarian notions that “labor” is a “class” distinct from others, especially in a socially mobile and entrepreneurial society where some of the hardest laborers are also the owners of the businesses that provide for others to labor where otherwise they would not. I reject the adversarial, even bigoted class politics causing the very ills it purports to cure. I reject the communistic, unionistic roots of the holiday, socially and economically divisive where one collar has been replaced by another and we all suffer.

No, I want to honor those who labor in the general sense, the human action of industriousness. The guys in the field, the factory, the checkout counter. They are often unrealized heroes in their own right. The salt of the earth is our most precious metal and though economically a resource should never be forgotten that all of us matter as human beings, no matter how small or mundane our tasks may seem.

I will not salute you as some economic warrior for “just wages” and better conditions, as much as that is noble in intention. I salute you, union or not, for whatever you do to earn our deserved respect. In fact, I stand up for those forced into the double-duty of union servitude, where the reasonable right to be in a union has become an unreasonable mandate.

I say we honor those who labor as EQUALS, neither subservient nor collectively superior to those whose task of industriousness is administrative, or capitalist, or philanthropic. For this is what I believe: that respect works in both directions if you must bother making distinctions at all …

Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty,  while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. {1 Corinthians 12:15-26}

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