Happy Mayday!

Last year on May 1 I lamented the lack of any large and visible celebration of Mayday, International Worker’s Day, in the United States. This year it appears it will be recognized in a bigger way than I ever would have dreamed even a few weeks ago.

As most of you probably know, during the last few weeks the United States has seen a growing furor over immigration sparked by a bill that passed the House in December. If passed, all undocumented residents in the United States would be considered felons, a move that would break up families and unnecessarily punish many hardworking people.

No one but the people seem willing to take a clear stand on this issue. The Republican Party is fractured and bickering among themselves, but this unethical legislation is slowly moving forward through the legal process. Too many politicians seem terribly afraid of being seen as soft on immigration. Others use immigration as a political talking point for campaigning but take little action. They are not to be trusted.

In recent weeks the bill has led to widespread protests in support of immigration throughout the United States. And today, May 1, organizers are calling for widespread boycotts and marches, just like you’d find in most any other country in the world where worker’s holidays are not shunned. It seems that it will be a day to remember.

Lastly, I’d just like to point out that some of the media attention given to this issue is appalling. Just an example, the New York Times’ first quote in their article anticipating today’s boycott is from a casino owner in Las Vegas, the conveniently named Alberto Lopez:

“A walkout really isn’t the constructive way — it’s the opposite of what should be happening,” said Alberto Lopez, a spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment, the casino company, where prominent banners and petitions calling for immigration reform (to be delivered, ultimately, to members of Congress) have been placed in employee dining halls. But, in the end, no one was certain what workers would choose to do.

Thanks, Times for that tremendous insight into this complicated issue. Casino owners think boycotts aren’t constructive. Right, noted.

So consider calling in sick to work today. And don’t take that trip to the supermarket or the department store you were planning. Anybody can participate so long as you work. It’s an International movement — at its best it always has been. Show you care about the ones that do the worst jobs in our country. The ones that hope to prove tomorrow, we can’t get by without them.

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