By Nathan Barton
As we approach the one-month mark on the “partial government shutdown,” we find more and more dire predictions about the catastrophe looming, which has just not yet hit the Fifty States.
Being distracted by a good many things I’d forgotten that this coming Monday is “Martin Luther King Junior Day.” When I mentioned that to my son (as he tried to figure out schedules for testing and such), I had a slip of the tongue.
“Remember that this is a three-day weekend because Monday is an Imperial holiday.”
This, in turn, triggered a whole lot of other ideas, some serious, and some fascicious, but fascinating.
The entire concept of “Federal Holidays” is not just unconstitutional (what authority exists?), but can be seen as robbing the taxpayers even more – insult to injury.
It is also very arrogant, that a group of people in DC can dictate to 300 million-plus Americans when not just government offices but many kinds of businesses and other enterprises can be available to provide them goods and services. Especially when the use of those services is mandated.
Still further, it is a violation of the sanctity of contracts. Both between customers and businesses, and employers and employees. It perhaps makes it more simple for a union and business to agree to a set standard list, but what if that union is mostly made up of Hebrew (Jewish) or Muslim employees? Or Amish who only have worship every other Sunday? Why can’t we just work it out privately?
And what if some of us want to celebrate other holidays?
Consider the excuse for this one. (And also a question as why in a three-month period we have to have a minimum of five mandatory, paid-time-off days.) Why should we be forced to “celebrate” MLKJr? His politics and accomplishments aside, what if we would instead want to recognize the contributions of George Washington Carver, or Nat Turner, or Frederick Douglass?
(Or Harriet Tubman? For the record, she had a LOT more solid accomplishments than a Baptist preacher turned rabblerouser and “prophet.” She actually helped free slaves, and she organized and led in combat and risked her life a whole lot more in the 1850s and 1860s than MLKJr ever did in the 1950s and 1960s.)
What if we don’t want to honor Washington and Lincoln, but would rather honor Jefferson or … Sitting Bull or Sam Houston? What if we want to honor “Labor” on May Day instead of the first Monday in September? Or (gasp!) CSA dead and veterans in April or June instead of Memorial Day in May? What if we want to celebrate Winter Solstice instead of (or in addition to) Christmas?
But the real point is, what real authority does (and should) any government have to dictate holidays even for their own employees? After all, if the governments exist to “serve the people,” then should it matter?
No doubt, it costs literally billions each time a federal holiday rolls around.
This year, once again (third holiday in a row!) 800,000 FedGov employees – or to look at it another way, nearly half a million parasites on the body politic – will not get paid (yet) for a day off. Whether your heart bleeds for them or not, they are not costing as much. Yes, things are not getting done, but that seems to not keep most Americans from continuing to breathe, eat, sleep, work, and play.
(Mark Steyn, substituting for Rush Limbaugh unexpectedly on Friday, expressed horror at the stench of unburied corpses and untreated raw sewage drifting northwards to his hideout in New Hampshire from the federally-abandoned BosWash urban corridor.)
There is great speculation regarding the reasoning behind Trump’s actions, although it is clear that Pelosi, Schumer (and even McConnell’s) actions are motivated by an intense (and growing) hatred of Trump himself.
I suspect that nothing major is going to happen before the end of the month, if then. Some suspect this might last a full sixty or more days, despite the pathetic screams by various politicians that lives, security, and civilization itself is threatened.
Which brings me back to the coming holiday, which will probably NOT be observed by about a quarter of federal employees.
We got by in this country for most of a century without paid-time-off federal holidays for government workers, bankers, and a whole bunch of other folks. Maybe we ought to try it again.