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Let’s make Labor Day new start

One of this country’s key strengths always has been its citizens’ commitment to hard work.

Unfortunately, on this Labor Day, however, America has far too many citizens who are content to live by the credo “ask what my country can do for me, not what I can do for my country.”

The current attitude embraced by many Americans is a disgraceful, embarrassing dereliction of the message President John F. Kennedy delivered in his inauguration address on Jan. 20, 1961, when he implored that people of the United States put their nation ahead of selfish interests.

His message — “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country” — lives on in the minds of many Americans, including many who were not alive on that Inauguration Day 60 years ago.

Yet too many of those who are familiar with the message blatantly ignore it during this time of COVID.

It must be hoped that today’s questionable thinking will have a much shorter “shelf life” than Kennedy’s inauguration message, as the current “Era of Me” gives way to a more sincere, rightly targeted patriotic perspective.

However, in the meantime, too much in federal financial resources are destined to be doled out needlessly before that time arrives.

An American would have had to be living in solitary confinement not to know how the coronavirus has changed many people’s employment situation and attitudes about work.

But on this Labor Day, there needs to be more of an exercise in considering how long one current festering attitude — “My unemployment benefits are more than my usual pay and I’m content to sit at home” — can persist.

Able-bodied individuals should try to help themselves and their country by getting out from in front of their television sets and seeking a better-paying job, rather than being content with a government handout, when there are so many important financial challenges that the country needs the resources to address — including disaster relief directed at hard-hit Hurricane Ida communities and families.

Meanwhile, many of those individuals who base flawed thinking on only the size of their paychecks fail to factor in the value of fringe benefits such as hospitalization.

Meanwhile, they fail to consider how an extended handout mentality might negatively impact their job prospects in the future because of potential employers’ questions regarding their reliability.

Generally, Labor Day is regarded as summer’s wind-down, although autumn doesn’t begin until later this month. Many people who did not experience hurricane damage or suffering from COVID-19 will be traveling; safety should be their top priority.

Some communities across the nation, including in this region, will host a parade to honor the American labor movement and the contributions workers have made to the prosperity and strength that this country boasts.

However, prosperity and strength are eroded when millions of outstretched hands are pointed in the direction of the Nation’s Capital or state capitals by people who truly do not merit receiving federal or state handouts — because their “hardship” is based on their own laziness. The many “now hiring” signs provide proof of jobs’ availability.

Attitudes contrary to this nation’s great work ethic and heritage must end.

Hopefully, Labor Day 2021 will open many eyes to what should be, rather than what is.

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