Wednesday, May 02, 2007

All Hail Loyalty

Are you loyal to your country? This seems to be the question our country's draft-dodging, cocaine-using, recovering alcoholic of a president is asking us. On Monday, Congress passed into law a new national holiday: National Loyalty Day. As if I need a day to remind me of my loyalty. Its like having a day to forgive my sins and cash in my good deeds.

The move, surprisingly passing in both houses without much fanfare or discussion, smacks of autocracy and confusion at the White House. But perhaps the ironic piece of this move is that May 1st has traditionally been May Day, a day of May-poles and flowers. It also is a big labor holiday in my dad's hometown of St.Louis, MO as May 1st was the day that summer construction contracts were signed. Unions have always turned out en masse for May Day celebrations and in the past century May Day has also been known as International Worker's Day dedicated to supporting and celebrating the labor movement and the working class.

So, now we add "Loyalty Day" to the list of things to celebrate on May 1. But how the hell do you celebrate loyalty? And isn't it utterly relative? I could celebrate my loyalty to Red Sox Nation by watching the Red Sox tonight. Does that count? Why do we need a useless "holiday" to remind us of our loyalty?

This gets to the root of the problem with a lot of Republican enforced government measures: they're not specific. Their War on Nouns (War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terrorism) has been nothing short of a complete disaster. Their education programs of late (No Child Left Behind) have wavered and collapsed. And now, to add insult to injury, they can't even come up with a decent holiday to add to the national calendar. I guess expecting a timetable and exit strategy around Iraq was out of the question.

In the end, this holiday will have zero impact on our lives. There are millions of holidays that go by without any sort of real acknowledgment. How did you celebrate Labor Day and Memorial Day last year? Most likely, similar to millions of other Americans, you got off work, went to the beach/barbecue/ballgame/picnic of your choice and had a great day off. What sucks about Loyalty Day is that I can't skip out on work. At least they could give me that, for godsakes.


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Stanley said...

Yes, and as Giuliani tells us, freedom is all about ceding your rights to authority. Hobbes may have agreed back in "Leviathan" when monarchies covered the globe, but I'd like to think that governance has progressed since 1651.

deborah oak said...

This is especially funny as May 1st has a long tradition of being the one day of the year when it's okay to be disloyal... to break any vows of monogomy and get wild with someone else. It's part of Beltane...the Celtic pagan feritilty holiday. It's what the Maypole is all about. It's what Julie Andrews sang about in the musical Camelot's "The Lusty Month of May". Here is a snippet:

"Those dreary vows that ev'ryone takes,
Ev'ryone breaks.
Ev'ryone makes divine mistakes
The lusty month of May!"

How perfectly twisted that May 1st..the one day when breaking vows is almost sacred - has become our national loyalty day.

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