“Monday, Monday, can’t trust that day.
Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that way.
Oh, Monday mornin’, you gave me no warnin’ of what was to be.
Oh, Monday, Monday, how could you leave and not take me?”
(“Monday, Monday” – the Mamas and Papas – 1966 – John Phillips)
Ah, Monday, the traditional start of the work week for millions of Americans. The song says, in its condemnation of Mondays, “every other day of the week is fine.” In popular nomenclature, it is known as “Blue Monday,” the day that marks the end of the weekend and the beginning of the drudgery of just another workweek.
In years past, that drudgery was something that the “working man” endured, week after week, so that he could make it to the weekend and spend sometime with his family. If he was lucky, he got a two-week vacation in the summer and took a road trip with the wife and kids to the mountains or the lake. That was his life, week after week, working for the same old company, until he earned his retirement and hung up his lunch pail. If he was relatively healthy, he might look forward to ten or twelve years of retirement before being laid to rest.
Life is no longer like that. For millions of Americans, there is no job to go to on Monday morning. Working for the same company for years is very unusual, given the plant closings and migration of jobs south and east. The company’s loyalty to the worker no longer exists and the worker’s loyalty to the company has faded over the years.
America is no longer home to the “working man.” It now takes two incomes to support a family and to guard against layoffs and job eliminations. The drudgery of the work week has been replaced, for so many, by the drudgery of endless and fruitless searching for a job.
America’s greatness has been the strength of our working class – men and women toiling in our factories and fields, putting food on the tables of their families and gold in the pockets of their employers. Now, the gap between the rich and poor is as great as it has been in decades and job security is a distant memory.
Where do we go from here? Are America’s best days behind her?
What is the next chapter for the American “working man?”
William Stephenson Clark