May Day has a heritage of celebrating Spring as well as supporting Workers. Both further fade during a time of quarantine.
As politics show us over and over, Fear works. When we get outside for a moment of spring after the cabin-fever inducing Winter, we know we are soon going to distance ourselves back inside. Who knows who ran through this space just before we arrived. Even sunlight cannot be trusted to disinfect a virus clinging to the dark side of a dust mote.
Yes, Fear works, and the negative political ads have begun their next round with their usual selectivity of images yanked from their context and portrayed in the worst possible light. At best, Workers’ well-being has plateaued but mostly has become brittle over the past decades and generations. The myths of trickle-down economics and right-to-work legislation have proven to be mirages. Nonetheless, they have weakened Workers’ ability to leverage their energy against the inertia of financial greed squirreled away in ever bigger off-shore barns. The thin stream of paychecks coming just-in-time to keep bankruptcy and eviction at bay have been furloughed, laid off, and boarded up.
May Day. A day of contrast caught between a breath of fresh air and a mask. A day between honor for everyday work upon which wealth relies and being ignored unto death to keep wealth flowing upward.
May Day. A day of one more opportunity to choose how we will care for earth and one another. A day of clarifying our analysis of how we have come to hope’s shadow side. A day of stating an intention to engage our culture and its systems of violence and asking others to hold us accountable for more than immediate comfort (first, to do no harm). A day of considering consequences and considered commitment (second, to do good).
May Day. A day to remember times of gain, times of loss; times rent apart, times sewn together; times of love, times of hate. May this May Day be a Day to keep eyes on a prize only graspable seven generations after us and thus a time for Peace for which we swear, “It’s not too late!”