I’ve mentioned a number of times that the hubs and I disagree on many major issues – religion and politics being the top two.
Lately, he’s been using his Facebook feed to promote some of his beliefs, largely in the form of petition requests and YouTube clips. Which is fine, of course. It’s his feed, after all. Plus, to be fair, it’s really presenting as more information-sharing, not inflammatory faux-news articles with no substance. (We all have THAT Facebook friend, don’t we? The one who we have to hide or unfollow during politics season because all that’s on his feed is a sewage-filled waterfall of grammatically and factually incorrect drivel?)
So the other night, the hubs posts this:
Now, before we get rolling too deeply here, please understand that I like holidays. A lot. Because that’s when all the good sales happen. Let’s have a look at the calendar:
January: Happy New Year! Go buy yourself a winter coat, at 50% off.
February: Presidents’ Day. Honor the dead guys printed on money by pulling out your cash, waving it around, and exchanging it for new bed sheets! Not to mention, it’s the week after
National Being Single Sucks Day Valentine’s Day, so you can stock up on an eight-pound box of loneliness truffles to christen your linens.
(Side note: When I die, y’all best formally designate the day as something to do with buying new shoes. If you fail to honor my passing in this HIGHLY appropriate manner, I will TOTALLY come back and haunt your sorry @$$ by belching in your ear at completely random and inopportune times, like at funerals, during work meetings, and intimate moments with your boo. So. Kate + Death = National New Shoes Day. Got it?)
March/April: EASTER! Resurrect your wardrobe with a new dress! And if you truly love Jesus, you’ll honor His sacrifice by buying your toddler an insanely expensive, elaborate frock, complete with ruffles and bows, which will be worn for exactly sixty-five minutes while she squirms incessantly, whines about it being itchy, spills Communion juice down the front of it, and promptly proceeds to outgrow it as soon as you exit the pews. (Depressed about this? No worries, the candy’s all on sale tomorrow. Stock up on chocolate-covered therapy and gnaw the shiz outta those bunny ears.)
May: Memorial Day! Time to honor those who died while they served by grilling processed meat tubes in your new summer duds! Never mind that they were all made in China. (The clothes. Not the hot dogs. Although I make no guarantees if you bought your pseudo-food at Discount Dollar Dump.)
July: Independence Day! The US emancipated itself from Mom and Dad and celebrated by throwing a kicka$$ party and lighting things on fire. (Come on, when YOU were sixteen, you’d have treated newfound freedom exactly the same way.) Oddly, this seems to be the time of year for appliance and mattress sales. While I could insert a few too-easy-and-tasteless jokes about fireworks and mattresses, I’m still scratching my head over appliances. So I Googled, and found a few examples of why one might need something like a new microwave after the holiday:
September: Labor Day. We celebrate working Americans by kicking the kids off the Xbox and shipping them back to school – in new clothes, of course, as well as new backpacks and new shoes (And you know how THAT goes. One for you, two for me….)
Christmas: Ah…the season of greed and debauchery, where we all get sucked into the annual quagmire of buffets, potlucks, stilettos, and family obligations. We cram an entire year’s worth of guilt and unmet expectations into this six-week period, eating and buying pretty much everything that isn’t Gorilla Glued to the floor. The shopping season used to start on the day after Thanksgiving; now it pretty much starts on Thanksgiving Day and runs through January 2, at which point we start the year over again.
But we were talking about voting, not shopping.
I can certainly agree that not enough people exercise their right to vote. A pathetic 57.5% of eligible voters showed up for our last big election in 2012.
And one might sit and wonder why.
And that same person might think, “Hey! I’ll bet it’s because people are too busy. So let’s give everyone the day off so more people vote!”
And this right here is a prime example of one of those things that SOUNDS simple…but once you look at execution, is WAY more complicated than you’d think.
First, declaring a “national holiday” only means that banks and the government will be closed. And your mail won’t be delivered. (Which is super annoying, because you’ll invariably forget that there’s no mail that day, and check anyway. Even though there’s never anything you really WANT in the mail. Unless it’s your birthday or something, 99% of mail goes right in the recycle bin. Yet, most of us are still looking in there every day, regardless, as if one day the Mail Genie will appear and grant us three winning entries to Publisher’s Clearing House.)
Think about it…who stays open on holidays? Well, there’s nursing homes and hospitals, of course. Then you’ve got the service industries, like restaurants. Don’t think for a moment that Taco Bell and Mickey D’s will lose a day of revenue over this – I mean, you gotta eat more than ya gotta vote. Transportation will be running, as well. Cab drivers will work. Buses will run (they HAVE to, or how will people GET to the polling station?) Planes won’t be grounded, either. They fly every day, Christmas and Thanksgiving included. And, because everyone gets along so well when discussing the merits of their candidates, I sure hope the police station stays open, too.
And let’s ask ourselves something: If you find yourself with a day off mid-week, how many of you are really going to spend it voting? In the US, we get so few days off from work – with no mandatory leave whatsoever – will we be motivated to spend those precious, cherished free hours waiting in line to cast a vote for one of two blowhards we’re not terrifically enthused about? Oh, and remember, because it’s a holiday, daycare’s closed, so you’ve got your kids in tow. But don’t worry, everyone else’s sticky, rambunctious offspring will be there, too. THAT can only end well. <eyeroll> I suspect, though, if we’re completely honest with ourselves, many of us will use the day to recharge – we’ll sleep in, get a pedicure, have a late lunch, and yes, go shopping – instead of “wasting” half of it at the polling station.
Another thing to remember: just because a day is a holiday doesn’t mean anyone has to be paid for that day. No employer is obligated to pay for hours not worked. There are some limited exceptions, of course, like jury duty pay in some states, paid leave for bone marrow donation in Minnesota , and the many states and cities providing for paid sick leave. (Note that this shiz is pretty much changing daily, so if you’re trying to find the current law for your location, Google it.)
Now, let’s say that you work for an employer who DOES decide add this new holiday to the list of paid holidays. Even if an employer added this as a paid holiday, most of their part-time workers wouldn’t be eligible, because part-time employees usually don’t get benefits. So you lose a day of pay if you’re a part-time person and your employer closes, generally. And who’s working part-time hours? Well, a lot of people:
OK, full disclosure: I have no clue what this graph means. But it looks rather patriotic, dontcha think? Anyway, as an example, Wal-Mart has a ton of part-time employees who theoretically wouldn’t be eligible for holiday pay…but they’re also not likely to be closed on Election Day, either. Heck, they were open on Thanksgiving Day last year. I know because I went. (Yes, I recognize that this makes me part of the problem.) They had cops there at the ready to break up the anticipated brawls over crappy TVs, but sadly, it was a complete snoozefest. I was sorely disappointed at the general civility and lack of WWE antics. Come ON, America. HAVE WE LOST ALL SENSE OF TRADITION?
Another thing to consider here is that many states already have laws in place allowing time off to vote. Some states even require that you get paid time off to vote. So what happens to those laws if the President declares a national holiday? I imagine they won’t be officially repealed, but they certainly could be. At the least, they’d be largely redundant. And it might be cheaper for an employer to close – and pay no one for the day, because they don’t have to – than to try to stay open and schedule everyone around their voting activities.
With all that said, employees DO need to understand their rights around voting, and pursue remedies if they’re discouraged from doing so. A lot was sacrificed to GIVE you this right, and the best way to honor those efforts is to cast your ballot.
Have a great 4th, peeps! <insert fireworks and sparklers>