Saturday, September 02, 2006

Labor Day musical tribute

Americans don't celebrate "Labor" as it is understood in much of the industrialized world. Our Labor is very much like our medical care, divided between the Haves and Have-nots, with those with the most influence at one end and those without financial resources at the other.

Union members, like citizens with good health insurance coverage, demand and receive very comfortable and enviable incomes. Non-union workers, like uninsured citizens, are obliged to settle for what's left. Ours is a system built on the principle that no matter how much everyone works, someone will always be unemployed and/or uninsured -- likely both.

Last year I came across a link (are you ready for this?) a Japanese-klezmer rendition of The Internationale, the traditional labor anthem not heard in America. It's not played here because we do not have a Socialist economy and find the whole notion of government influence in the private sector to be disgusting. Unless, of course, we are talking about big government contracts, pork projects and subsidies. Like I said...

The lyrics vary from country to country dpending on different circumstances, but the theme is basically unchanged. Those at the bottom of society do work that others find either too hard or too boring. They are expected to mind their manners, keep their attitudes in check and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, as long as they don't make us wait too long for a coffee refill and clean the jello out of the carpet before we bring the toddler back next time.

Those of us in the service industry found out long ago that we are paid a lot more for what we put up with than what we do. Those of us paid most not only put up with the public, but have the added responsibility of teaching subordinates to treat the public with respect, whether or not (too often "not") they return that favor.

1 comment:

Village Smitty said...

Yeah. The Have's have 'money coming out the wazoo', and base insticts dictate they try to rub your face in it.

Too bad my computer's deaf. Blew its drums six years age. Would love the sino-judean rhythm, however. To reciprocate, here's something in a similar international genre.