Thursday, December 24, 2009

The holiday shift

Most Freeman employees are working today, Christmas Eve, including me. Some are working well into the evening. Others, including independent contractors, will be out in the wee hours delivering the paper. Most of the same people will be on duty again tomorrow, Christmas Day and night. Then all will repeat the drill next week on New Year's Eve and New Year's night.

All of these employees have one thing in common: They'd rather not be working on the holidays. And that's no doubt the same sentiment felt by millions who have jobs to do at a time of year when they'd rather be at home with their families. But they,too, work because their jobs require it and they need the income.

In fact, millions of unemployed Americans would gladly relinquish their holiday time off if they had jobs to which to report on Christmas and New Year's and the rest of the year.

So should anyone be shedding a tear because members of the U.S. Senate have been working day and night these last couple of weeks to create a health care bill? Should we commiserating because they had to report to the Capitol at 7 a.m. today for a landmark vote, a time to which otherwise disagreeable Republicans agreed because everyone wanted to venture home sooner than later, particularly with a big storm making travel to the midwest treacherous?

TV commentators this morning emphasized the historic nature of today's vote, not just that it was to pass a landmark health care initiative, but because of the rarity of a Christmas Eve session.

Forgive me if I don't take the time to bemoan their fate. I'll be too busy in the office most of the day.
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