Okay, “Let’s Take a Day Off” is an unusual title for an article. But, and there’s always a “but” involved; in this case the title is the punch line. Get comfortable and let me explain.
First off, I’m not someone who advocates violence just for the sake of violence. I don’t want to see riots in our streets, during what were supposed to be peaceful protests. The RNC’s National Convention is July 18-21 in Cleveland, with the Dems National Convention in Philadelphia also in July, from the 25th through the 28th. We know there will be protests, and it’s not rocket science to predict that there will be some ugliness at both. I don’t want to see it get out of hand. And that’s just four months shy of the general election.
Gandhi was famous for his passive/aggressive approach to protests, which is sometimes referred to as Soulforce. Dr. King also advocated peaceful marches and sit-ins. King always used black church communities as rallying points and places for true spiritual inspiration before facing the lion’s den.
We no longer have leaders such as these men. While there are calls to keep it peaceful, there will be far more who are willing to do violence. With the mood of the country being what it is after seven and one half years of Obama, what could start as a protest could very easily turn into civil war. Remember that guy who punched a protester at a Trump rally? Magnify that a few million times and the phrase “civil war” could no longer be mere rhetoric.
What does “a day off” have to do with any of this? Look at it this way. What would be a sure fire way to get the government to actually pay attention to us, to We the People? What would happen if every worker in the U.S. took a day off from work at the same time?
“That would be called a general strike,” you might say. Yes and no. General strikes are often reported happening in other countries, but not here. Besides, strikes involve picketing, going out in the streets, and almost always violence. What I’m advocating is for everyone with a job to simply stay home on a certain day. No strikes, no marches, no speeches, no violence, but the country would have to shut down. We The People would definitely be noticed.
“But that’s totally asinine”, you say. “You’ll never get enough people to do that.” Yes, I know that. But if certain industries were hit hard enough with enough people participating, you would get the same effect.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of march 2016, the U.S. labor force numbered 122,520,000 full time workers. A “full time” worker is a person who usually works 35 or more hours a week. This is down from a high of 123, 420,000 in August, 2015. Our current unemployment rate is 5.0% with a 63% participation rate of eligible workers. (Note: BLS numbers do contain some illegals, but the number of illegals inadvertently included has never been consistent.)
Now, March 2016 employment numbers for certain (non-farm) industries are as follows:
Transportation, warehousing, and utilities 27,287,00
Information (all levels of employment) 2,774,000
Education and health (all levels) 22,539,000
Retail sales (as of May 2012) 4,300,000
By way of example, if just 1% to 5% of truckers, dock and warehouse workers, and utility workers all took a day off at the same time, it would slow, and in some locals, completely stop all shipping and travel. If a large number of educators and health care workers didn’t show up at on the same day, what would happen? Same with information and communications workers. Who would notice?
What would we want to see happen for our efforts? Well, to start with, the demand for calling a Convention of States. Under Article V of the Constitution, this allows that citizens “…on the application of the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments…valid to all…as part of the constitution…” There is already something of a grass roots movement to this effect. Perhaps we should nudge it along a bit.
What would a Convention of States want to propose? For starters, how about curtailing our debt with a balanced budget amendment? If worded properly, it would have to include stopping foreign aid, funding and maintaining non-citizens and foreign interests, and unfunded liabilities such as our bloated welfare and entitlements, which would include un-funding Obamacare. Curtailing funding for various programs would go a long way to solving a lot of problems.
That’s just a start, though. Another amendment that is needed is term limitations on House and Senate terms. This would be worded to also do away with presidential appointments of judiciary. Closing the borders and dealing with illegal immigration are issues that desperately need to be dealt with as well.
All of this could be done, without another revolution, without firing a shot. I’m not a pacifist. I’m not against using violence when needed as a last resort, but only as a last resort. While we still can, we need to use what legal means are still available to us.
It could start with millions of us, especially in key industries. It could start when We the People decide to take a day off.
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joannao/156536924; Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)