Happy May Day, my friends.
This morning I put in an out-of-office reply in solidarity with international workers for International Worker’s Day, AKA May Day. May 1st is a national holiday in more than 80 countries.
My initial plans for the blog today were to go ‘dark’–no blog post at all–and then to pick back up as usual tomorrow. But after doing some thinking, I figured it would be more beneficial to explain a little bit about *why* May Day is important to me–especially in response to some of the comments left on the above poster that I pinned on Pinterest to promote today’s strike.
In particular, these comments upset me most:
Take the streets? You can borrow them. Just make sure you clean up all your socielist [sic] trash afterwards.
The only people who should agree with them are the people who think they deserve the entire world handed to them on a platter while they sit on a couch in front of the TV.
Unbelievable. If you can afford not to go to work. Not to use the bank. Not to shop nor do chores and not to go to school you are leading an unproductive life. What is this going to prove? Im with Lisa put Americans back to work! And yes this is America and we do have the privilege of Freedom of speech. But when your a factor of this country’s terrible economy and you bash your nation you still want your freedom of speech?!
Really? This is spoiling Pinterest
Most of the comments left on this poster were of this nature. I get that people want to look at pretty stuff on Pinterest. I want to look at pretty stuff too (and actually I thought this poster *was* really pretty). But I can not pretend that while I am lucky enough to be surrounded by beauty most of the time–many are not. Many are surrounded by the really ugly–and I’m not talking about Comic Sans ugly. I’m talking about kids going hungry, sick people who have no health care, oil spilling into the gulf, factory farming ugliness. I think that dedicating a day to join in the streets to act in solidarity with The People (not the corporations) is vital.
Protesting is not being lazy. It’s not sitting on a couch in front of a TV. It’s how ‘little’ things like civil rights, women’s rights, worker’s rights, children’s rights, minimum wage and the 8-hour work day were won. It’s actually the opposite of lazy. It takes drive, and courage and persistence and involves a total upset of a daily routine–one that most of us feel very comfortable in. It involves self sacrifice.
Everything that we do is touched by the hands of workers who have to fight every day just to survive in this country. Who picked the fruit I ate this morning? What is their life like? Who sewed the maternity pants I have on? Who built the roads I drive on and the computer I type on? Are their lives pretty enough for Pinterest? Or will snap-shots of their existence spoil the Pinterest experience, too?
What will it take for people to empathize with those less fortunate? Will people begin to understand when their home gets foreclosed on? When they loose their health due to pesticides on the food and in the water? When they are discriminated against based on race, religion, sexual orientation, class or gender?
I don’t have the answers. But what I do have is a voice, a tiny corner of the internet and two legs that will now take me downtown to join the Immigrant’s Rights March (thank you, commenter #1, for ‘lending’ the streets to us.) And I’m sure that my day will be moving and full of beauty–probably more beautiful, more moving and more memorable than anything I’ve ever pinned on Pinterest.
Poster via here.