The link to Silas House’s op ed should function as a “gift article” and not be subject to a paywall. — EDG
I had to study awhile to figure out why Mae Amburgey seemed so familiar to me. I realized it was because I had seen that same look on my mother’s face when we escaped the flood all those years ago. Hers is the face of so many who have come before her and who will come after, of all people who have had to fight to survive. I’m haunted by the weariness and determination in the eyes of Chloe Adams. Hers are the eyes of so many children from all over the world who are powerless against others’ greed.
They are my people not only because they are Appalachian, like me, but because they are human beings. They are familiar faces because they are all of us, caught in the clutches of entities that have more rights than we do as individuals, including companies that so often get favors from politicians like McConnell and Paul, neither of whom have even shown up in the devastated place they are meant to represent. (McConnell said he planned to visit the region, and Paul said at a Louisville news conference that he would “try and get out there as soon as we can.”) They are ourselves and our children and our grandchildren in the near future; the climate crisis is happening now.
“This Labor Day, we Christians should stand in solidarity with the American worker, in the spirit of the “Social Creed of the Churches.” Labor Day is one of those national holidays that once commemorated an important dimension of the American experience, but more often now it just serves as another three-day excuse to eat hot dogs and watch fireworks. Labor Day ought to be an annual celebration of the American worker, an acknowledgment of the importance of the working class to the common good of the United States. With all due respect to the “job creators” to whom US economic policy is so subservient, the health of our economy and our democracy depends on labor, on the production and consumption of our working class. Labor Day offers a ritualistic reminder of our indebtedness and responsibility to our laborer-citizens. It invites our country to annually renew its pledge to protect the working class, in the name of the common good.”