I’m sitting on a bench across the street from my house in Riverside Park. It’s a short walk from my apartment to the children’s playground area. I’m watching children run around the yard; swing on the monkey bars; climb up the jungle gym; slip down the slides then run into the sprinkler.
On such a sizzling hot and humid day, the shockingly ice cold water feels good to their sweaty, super-heated skin. The streams of coolness make the all the children playing in it, scream, shout, giggle with glee and throw water on each other. They remind me how good it is to be young, filled with wonderment and allowed to act silly. Watching children at play, always relaxes me and I let my mind drift off. I’m still trying to come up with a Labor Day tale worthy of posting on my blog and FB page.
Suddenly I had an idea. I’m no great admirer of Donald J. Trump but his rhetoric, “Make America Great Again” has made me rethink the meaning of many things during this presidential campaign.
I consider myself to be one of the luckiest workers in America. While I’m retired now, I got a job working for a New York City housing agency in 1978. At the time, the Big Apple was beginning the climb out of bankruptcy and it needed additional workers for its newly formed housing agency to manage an ever-growing list of residential properties.
During my years working for the city, I joined a union, a pension plan and had social security taken out for my retirement. I was still able to put part of my salary into a deferred compensation plan for my retirement, too. I had some pretty amazing education and health benefits through my union that covered me and my family in sickness and in good health as long as I worked for the city.
My mind drifts back to the park. As I watch the children having so much fun in the park’s playground, I realize their caretakers and parents probably aren’t city workers so they won’t have the same benefits I have. When their parents retire from one dead-end job, they will work a second or third job to barely support themselves and their children. I also wonder if their children will earn a better living and have better benefits than they now have.
To me what would “Make America Great Again,” would be decent health benefits, a living wage and truly affordable housing for all American workers. They deserve it. That’s my Labor Day wish but I wonder how to make it happen.