Let’s drink to the hard-working people
Let’s think of the lowly of birth
Spare a thought for the rag taggy people
Let’s drink to the salt of the earth
—Salt of the Earth, The Rolling Stones
It’s Labor Day weekend. Let Oliver Anthony bewail rich men north of Richmond and bemoan the plight of working people. Today, let’s drink to the hard-working people.
People who build our houses, schools, roads, bridges, tunnels, ships, and ports. People who clean rooms, scrub floors, wash windows, and launder linens. People who fix cars, roofs and plumbing, and repair broken power lines. People who trim trees, mow grass, sweep streets, plow snow, and hang traffic lights.
People who harvest crops, who package, haul, shelf and re-shelf them, who bag them at checkout and return grocery carts. People who drive ambulances, firetrucks, buses, and taxis. People who pull smashed bodies out of wreckage, stanch bleeding, mend broken bones, nurse ailments, empty bedpans, and push wheelchairs. People who teach children, coach teams, referee and umpire Little League games.
And that’s only a partial list.
Today, let’s drink to such people.
Then tell me which workers you salute today.
Finally, let’s raise a glass to Mick Jagger. I know he’s a rich rock star. But he’s also a hard worker.
I saw him and the Stones 20 years ago at the Capital One Arena in DC. I thought after 40 grueling rock-and-roll years he’d be faded, jaded, frazzled, maybe a bit addled. He wasn’t. He pranced, strutted, jumped, and exuberantly strode up and down a runway while belting out songs for two hours straight.
And he’s still at it. At 80 years old!
Jagger is no slacker. He works hard on stage and works hard before he gets on stage. Before every tour, he puts his body through a rigorous workout routine so he’s fit to prance, strut, and jump while singing “Jumpin’ Jack Flash.”
He wouldn’t have to. He could coast on his reputation. But Jagger comes from working-class roots, and as he told an interviewer: Some hard working bloke’s gonna spend a week’s wages on a ticket, and I want to make sure he gets his money’s worth.
Let’s raise a glass to Mick Jagger. Let’s drink to the hard-working people. Let’s drink to the salt of the earth.
And then let’s work hard to make sure they are paid and treated as they deserve.
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