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Lemon: Washington has lost touch with us

Heather Lemon
Vail CO, Colorado

There are 120 days until the Denver Democratic Convention. Is anyone tired of the political campaigning yet? And it hasn’t even started. Why don’t all of the presidential candidates who are Harvard and Yale law graduates tell us how they really feel about the common worker of America, the ordinary people.

Or perhaps as Obama suggested to Iowa farmers, we should check the price of arugula at Whole Foods to really tell how our economy is doing. Arugula? Isn’t that the fuzzy, spiny chewy lettuce thing that I pick out of my salad? Never mind that there probably isn’t a Whole Foods in Iowa yet. I am surprised that the Commerce Department has not added arugula to the basket of food basics like milk, sugar, flour, into the consumer price index.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether John McCain would even recognize an economy if it came up and slapped him in the face. Not that George Bush has much of a clue as his administration has set new lows in government spending and deficit financing. So, barring a gold rush or oil and gas being discovered in everyone’s backyard (Roan Plateau in Western Colorado excepted, since at least some folks out there do not want it in their backyard, it does not count), the likelihood of any Republican candidate winning in November is slim and none. So why not save all of us a lot of grief and pain, and declare Hillary and Barack co-premiers of the new People’s Republic of the United States.

And if we inaugurate them today, it will be just in time for the May Day parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

So in honor of our newly founded Republic, I thought I would introduce us ordinary folks to the proper observance of International Workers Day, May 1. Now I know that many of you are recalling fond memories of frilly school girls and nattily attired school boys merrily dancing and weaving brightly colored streamers around the May pole. Or perhaps others of you recall the campus riots and worker strikes that always seem to wait until the weather got warmer.

May 1 holidays however are not a recent, 20th-century invention. According to Wikipedia, the earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian Europe, as in the Celtic celebration of Beltane, and the Walpurgis Night of the Germanic countries. Many pre-Christian indigenous celebrations were eventually banned or Christianized during the process of Christianization in Europe. The basis of the celebrations was to celebrate the end of the harsh winter half of the year and to ring in the first of the summer. The Chinese recognized the beginning of May as beginning of a new season falling between the solstice and the equinox.

International Workers Day, May 1, was declared an official holiday of the socialist movement at the Paris Workers Congress held from the 14th to the 20th of July, 1889. The holiday was to commemorate the execution of the men arrested for the HayMarket Riots in Chicago in 1886 and as a celebration of the social and economic achievements of the working classes. Because of its close association with communism, the U.S. Congress in 1958 declared May 1 to be Loyalty Day (ever heard of that?).

The former Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, and Cuba all commemorate May 1 with military parades and an impressive show of force down the capital avenues. Why a celebration of social and economic achievements of the working classes is best demonstrated by military might I am not sure. Putin seems to be posturing towards a return to power of the general secretary of whatever he calls his party now.

But we have been moving steadily towards a People’s Republic run by the elite who tell us that they truly understand the ordinary people and how to spend our money on programs we may or probably do not need. Let’s dispense with American politics as we know it, and rubber stamp the ascension of our first woman and first African-American premiers. If that happens, we will all learn to say MAY DAY MAY DAY.

Heather Lemon of Eagle-Vail writes a biweekly column for the Vail Daily. She can be reached at lemonvail@aol.com. E-mail comments about this column to letters@vaildaily.com.


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