Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day - an American Celebration... of sorts.

In most of the world, today is Labor Day (or international workers’ day). Not so in the U.S. (which, along with a few other countries has its own Labor Day on September 1st) because May Day precisely originated in the United States - it is a commemoration of the Haymarket Riot of 1886, a rally by anarchists which turned into chaos after a bomb was thrown - and also because, the international workers’ day is associated with international socialism, not a popular concept or most Americans throughout the 20th century.
However, the U.S. has a celebration of its own on May, 1st. As President George W. Bush reminded us this year, today is Law Day... yes, whatever that means. Interestingly it was established by President Eisenhower to offset against the biggest day on the socialist calendar. (well, of course, that was in the context of the Cold War). Obviously, it failed. Has anyone outside the legal community heard of it? Nope.
And what's to do on Law day, well according to Wikipedia:
some local bar associations hold a luncheon, featuring speakers who discuss topics such as justice or the liberties provided for by the United States Constitution. Also, attorneys might visit schools and talk to students about the American legal system.

That's probably why President Bush has issued a proclamation inviting Americans today to “celebrate the Constitution and the laws that protect our rights and liberties.”, and he said that with a straight face apparently.
Does anyone see the irony here? Well, the New York Times does:
It rings more than a little hollow, though, as he continues to trample on civil liberties in the war on terror, and stands by an attorney general who has politicized the Justice Department to a shocking degree.
Concluding with philosophical irony:
The less committed a president is to the law, the more need there is for Law Day, which makes it a holiday whose time has come.


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