Monday, September 1, 2014
Greetings, and happy (belated) birthday to me. That is, August 1st was my biological birthday. A person could have many rebirths in his/her life. I count the time I came to Philadelphia in September 1981 as my rebirth, so in many respects I’m 33 years mature, not necessarily old. All too many “older” people could be immature. I was appalled by the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which stated that a “closely held” corporation, like those owned by a single family, has the right to refuse to provide contraceptive care, under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in their health care plans. This is on top of the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, which had taken away the limits of how much a person or a corporation could donate to a political campaign. It is as if the modern corporation has become a machine, like out of science fiction, where the wealthy enter into and they become powerful. After the Hobby Lobby decision, the federal courts received petitions from other corporations for exemption from the ACA on “religious” grounds, disproving what Justice Samuel Alito said about the Hobby Lobby ruling being “narrow” in scope. To what extent does a corporation have the right to monitor and regulate an employee’s life? The traditional model of a corporation is the small, neighborhood shop or store, which is the model presented of a business, and not the contemporary multinational corporation which brings in billions of dollars a month and reaches every continent, and hires thousands of employees the stockholders never see. Your modern corporation is as bureaucratized as any modern government. So why worry about the private lives of employees? To me it’s more of a refusal by a corporation to assume responsibility for the health and well-being of the workers who build the products and provide the services that bring in the profits for corporations; their power and reach is so vast, they not only can dispose of individual workers but whole communities and nations in the pursuit to the greatest amount of profit for the least amount of payment. They look on workers as parts of the assembly line, not as human beings that have families to take care of. We must allow ourselves some downtime, some rest and refreshment after work; going on and on all the time, while it sounds heroic, doesn’t always work. I have participated in Labor Day, the holiday honoring workers and what we have accomplished for this nation, and for our families. I also am active in the movement to reestablish May Day as a workers’ holiday; who says we can’t have both? Who says we don’t deserve the time for rest and reflection? Rest and recreation are not only fun things to have, they are necessities, it is one of the Ten Commandments, shown in Deuteronomy 5:12-”Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God has commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God: you shall not do any work-you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your ox or your ass, or any of your cattle or the stranger in your settlements, so that your male and female slave may rest as you do. Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the LORD your God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God has commended you to observe the Sabbath day.” Rest and refreshment are necessary for the physical, mental, and spiritual health of a person. Well, I have rested, and I will resume the workday tomorrow, and I will prepare for more downtime to take care of myself and those I love. Bye!