by J. Michael Atherton
Another in a series of occasional posts by Mike Atherton about Democrats’ contributions to American life.
Paid vacations. What a great idea. At least Democrats think so. Democrats have tried hard for over 100 years to let workers look forward to something exciting and different. While it’s a fine thing to have a job, we need to decide something: should we live to work? or work to live? Democrats vote for the latter because work gives us what we need to live and we all need something thrilling in our lives. And one thing that lifts everyone’s spirit is an upcoming vacation.
Businesses still fight against paid vacations. Bosses must want people to dedicate their entire life to work. They think this way about workers because when workers work bosses get rich. Just imagine if you remove workers. You couldn’t have a business. You’d just have large empty buildings with a few confused “bosses” complaining about not getting anything done.
Democrats have a long record of fighting for paid vacations because we know workers have earned this time. Remember workers make wealth, not the bosses.
In 1910 America tried to institute paid vacations, but failed because the business establishment was indifferent to the lives of workers. At the same time Sweden and Germany passed laws giving workers seven weeks paid vacation per year. Seven weeks paid vacation in 1910 and their economies grew.
Owners resist paid vacation to this day. As of 2021 the Congress has failed to pass a law mandating any paid vacation whatsoever. Such resistance and inaction have left America, the wealthiest nation in the world, with the shameful fact that 55% of our workers get no vacation.
But 45% do and remember, if you got ‘em, use ‘em. So, if you look forward to time with the family in the Lake District, going someplace to try your luck at a game of chance, or perhaps taking in a play or a museum, thank a Democrat.
About the author
John Michael Atherton (Mike) has retired from 30 years of teaching philosophy (after 20 years of teaching a variety of subjects from elementary to graduate school). Four years in the Peace Corps in Swaziland (now Eswatini), followed by marriage, first child, and PhD all at the University of Chicago. Moved to Southwest Pennsylvania where wife Cynthia Walter taught ecology and he taught philosophy while they raised two daughters. Moved to Dover in 2019 to be near their two grandsons in Maine. He has consistently found the Dems to be a group that publicly and privately follows their stated values: compassion, honesty, integrity, respect the dignity of all people, expanded freedom, responsible citizenship, promoting civil society, and protecting our environment. Just add that they are great fun to be around and you have a winning combination.