September 1, 2014

Continuing a Labor Day Tradition

In 2011, I wrote a poem titled “Labor Day Lament, 2011.” Alas, the poem seems as relevant today as it did three years ago. This year, however, the American people have suffered yet another indignity at the hands of our corporate overlords, as Burger King moves to Canada to avoid U.S. taxes.

Today, I heard a report on the radio about another technique being used to rob American workers of their dignity and a decent wage. Apparently, in the restaurant industry, software is predicting the probable volume of customers minute by minute. Because of this, a server, rather than being hired for a reasonable shift, might be hired for 7:54 AM to 9:30 AM, then from 11:23 AM to 12:58 PM. It is easy to think that Adam Smith’s invisible hand is increasingly at the neck of American workers.

If the workers of America ever wake up and unite, things may get ugly. Anyway, my 2011 poem is below. It is also on my Web site, where it appears with an explanation of its construction and some of its references.

Labor Day Lament, 2011
by Lionel E. Deimel


With bosses making millions,
And millions unemployed,
Hapless workers, by the millions,
Have seen their dreams destroyed.

America the beautiful,
America the strong,
New order of the ages,
Where oh where did you go wrong?

We look for Christian charity,
For pity toward the poor;
We find instead indifference
And the rich demanding more.

Pollution from their smokestacks
The breath of infants robs;
They say that regulations
Will only kill our jobs.

America the beautiful,
America the strong,
New order of the ages,
Where oh where did you go wrong?

Our politicians ponder
How to fool the average Joe
Into thinking every problem
Can be solved by saying “no.”

For wrecking our prosperity,
No bankers went to jail;
They’d rather crush the middle class
Than let a big bank fail.

America the beautiful,
America the strong,
New order of the ages,
Where oh where did you go wrong?

Corporations are just people
In somewhat different guise,
So judges gave them license
To feed us all their lies.

The unions are retreating;
Their time, it’s said, is gone;
Amidst our countless troubles,
Tell me, which side are you on?

America the beautiful,
America the strong,
New order of the ages,
Where oh where did you go wrong?


1956 Labor Day stamp

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