By JOHN McCALLUM
So, how did you spend your Labor Day?
I spent my three-day weekend in a variety of ways. Saturday I covered Cheney football after helping out with a yard sale in the morning.
Sunday I was at the yard sale all day after church. I finally got some relaxation time to myself on Monday, working out in the morning and then spending the afternoon with family. That night, I worked conducting interviews and writing stories for this week's issue.
Many of us spent Labor Day relaxing at the lake or river, took in the annual food and music fest Pig Out in the Park in Spokane, went cycling, hiking, camping or any myriad of things we choose to do to relax. Likely food was included somehow too.
But I'd bet that there were very few of us that took the time to think about what the holiday is about – a celebration of labor. Nope, we probably did everything we could to avoid the subject.
According to the Department of Labor's website, the holiday is a “creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” Its originator is debated, but it was first celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City through the plans of the Central Labor Union.
The state made it an official holiday in 1887, and after others followed suit Congress made it a national holiday in 1894.
I read this on Monday night while doing my writing for this week, and it got me thinking about this year's election, which most everyone believes will come down to who will be the best stewards to manage and create economic recovery. Much of that discussion is centered on business, small business, the “job creators” and the role of government in the equation.
In fact we hear so much talk about job creators that it seems people have forgotten that it takes two groups to make this economy work: Employers and employees.
Sometimes I get the feeling that our political leaders think everyone should be an employer or at least an entrepreneur. That would be great, but it's not possible nor is it even probable.
Some people have the knack at creating and running a business. To be truly successful, to grow and build the enterprise, they need a workforce dedicated to seeing and embracing their vision.
Some in that workforce may desire to someday own a business. Many will not. They are content with working for other, more individually focused purposes.
Both groups need each other to thrive. Employees need employers who are smart at successfully managing a business, getting it to grow and thrive so that both prosper.
Employers need employees to produce quality products so that they individually prosper and also grow the business. They need employees who can also afford to buy what they produce.
In this election it seems to me we have one political party that is focused on employers while the other party is focused on employees. Any attention to the other interests is only there in the end to benefit those who they support, not both groups together. That's a recipe for disaster in my opinion because the two groups have a symbiotic relationship that cannot be separated.
They need each other in order to survive. Business is what drives this country's success, but it's labor that provides the fuel. You can't have one without the other.
That's why this past weekend was important, why it exists in the first place. I would hope those of us that vote will remember this in the months to come.
John McCallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.