Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life.
— Proverbs 22:22-23
Bill’s downstairs making breakfast. Johnnycakes. I’ve never set tooth to one, and he seems to think this is a darn shame, and so on Labor Day he’s at work in the kitchen whipping up something that will no doubt we wonderful.
Today is a day we set aside (make holy?) to honor those that have offered blood, sweat and tears to make this country strong. It honors the laborers, and the Unions that have fought to protect the rights of those workers.
We now celebrate this holiday with BIG sales at big box stores (many of which are not unionized). Do you hear them laughing? They are. All the way to the bank.
At some point in our history as a nation we changed from the hope and promise of good hard work resulting in movement up the ladder to a society where the rich became richer off the backs of the impoverished. When Walmart can pay folks so little that full time workers STILL qualify for government benefits (while profits continue to up-tick), there’s a problem. I’m no economist…. but I do have a wee bit of theologian in me. I cannot begin to grapple with men and women of faith making the sorts of decisions that exploit the poor for their own gain and claim to be God-fearing.
Excuse me for a second. I appear to have something rather large in my own eye.
I live quite comfortably. I don’t give nearly what I should to causes that provoke passion in me… but I give some. I’ve just spent the last two months setting up a really lovely and comfortable space for my family to live. And, although I didn’t buy things at Walmart, and tried to purchase items that were not made by children in some foreign land, no doubt I’ve also benefited from the work and labor of others in a way that was not mutually supportive, but exploitive.
This Labor Day? I vow to do better. Here’s to those who should benefit from the sweat of their own brow. Here’s to those who should be paid fairly for the work they do. Here’s to those who establish justice in the workplace and manage to create wealth for all. Here’s to the innovators who understand there’s more to life than the bottom line… that adding a second (or even third!) bottom line creates a better world.
Now… on to johnnycakes.