Give Americans a Break Campaign
Inspired by our Italic cousins across the Atlantic,
whose relaxed and healthy lifestyle is admired around the world,
the Italic Institute of America advocates a new holiday calendar
to reduce stress and encourage family and national values.
Help us make it a reality. Tell us how to spread the word.
Americans work the equivalent of two to four weeks per year more than the Japanese
and Germans. Many of us are still getting only two weeks vacation each year
while other industrialized nations guarantee even their entry level workers
a month off. Moreover, today's lifestyle requires two working parents to support
a family and it is becoming rare for them to share the same days off. Personal
days only compound the problem. You may be off but the world still beats a
path to your desk leaving piles of mail and messages for your imminent return.
Add to these the Blackberry and cell phone, and work has become an all-consuming
menace to our sanity.
What America really needs is a good 3~day weekend, every month -- national holidays celebrated in all 50 states by all businesses, schools, and governments. Imagine, rearranging some existing holidays, adding some new ones and, voila', a logical system of slowing down so we can all catch our breath.
The primary task is to get over this concept of sacred dates. Except for Christmas
(December 25th) and New Year's Day (January 1st) nothing is so sacred that
it can't be celebrated at our convenience. Must the 4th of July always fall
on a different day of the week? Let's call it Independence Day and make it
the first Friday in July -- forever. That way we can gather around the barbecue
on Friday and recover on Saturday and Sunday.
Here is our plan to reconfigure some existing holidays and fill in the monthly voids with some new, exciting days off:
January 1 - New Year's Day
This holiday is certainly date sensitive and falls when it will. Perhaps another, bolder innovator will transmogrify it to a perennial Monday.
February (first Monday) - Leadership Day
This month has been the preserve of our presidents, Washington and Lincoln. Congress
transcended the birthdates of these great men to create Presidents Day. But
why just celebrate two presidents of the United States? How about all the other
great men and women who made this country what it is? Why not celebrate those
who take on the extra responsibility and become our role models: a leader of
industry, of civil rights, of science, of the military, of academia. This can
be a very local as well as national day of recognition to inspire our youth.
March (first Monday) - National Service Day
Now that the military draft is a thing of the past and everyone is day-trading or playing Lotto wouldn't it be nice to celebrate good old-fashioned self-sacrifice? Maybe it's the neighborhood kids cleaning their street or shoveling snow for the elderly. This is the day, even the week, that we pledge to help one another -- for free!
April (second Monday) - Earth Day
This already exists and it's a grand idea. It deserves formal acceptance by the nation. Planet Earth needs gentle loving care and this is a tremendous way to pass on reverence for the environment to the coming generations.
May (second Monday) - Memorial Day
Not only can we continue this holiday but we might even consider observing it by voluntarily closing department stores and refraining from making it a shopping day.
June (second Monday) - Family Day
Why not use this weekend for family reunions? Let's rebuild the extended family and renew our ties with distant aunts and cousins.
July (first Friday) - Independence Day
This is our usual 4th of July without the anxiety of missing out on a 3-day weekend if it falls mid-week.
August (second Monday) - All Nations Day
The U.S.A. is not a melting pot but a mosaic. This is the weekend to remember our roots. It could be one big smorgasbord of festivals and cultural events.
September (second Friday) - Labor Day
As before, we will celebrate the working man. Here's another day that we can put our money where our mouth is by curtailing mall hours for a day so the sales clerks can enjoy some free time.
October (second Monday) - Explorers Day
Since we are a nation of immigrants (even the Native Americans came over the land bridge) here is the weekend to acknowledge the courage and curiosity of those who first opened the paths we all trod. Not only Columbus but Neil Armstrong and Sigmund Freud as well as countless others can be spotlighted for our debt to them.
November (third Thurs & Fri) - Thanksgiving
Can we sneak in a 4-day weekend here? If not, why not make Thanksgiving on Friday? The original reason for Thursday probably had something to do with Catholics not eating meat on Friday. But all that has changed now, so let's apply a little logic.
December 25 - Christmas
I wouldn't fool around with this one. Whether you believe or not you have to admit the Yuletide and Dickens are under our skin.
Please note, Dear Reader, that with this new and improved calendar summer is
expanded by 3 weeks. It's the same Memorial Day to Labor Day concept but instead
of 15 weeks in between there are now 18. Wow! The endless summer means a lot
more beach, boating and barbecue.
Revamping our calendar is the simplest way to reward all the American people for their sacrifices -- not just for the rich, not just the poor, not just any particular race but for all of us. These are holidays that are tied into civic responsibility, reflecting the new millennium concerns of the nation, the environment and the human race. We believe that they will lead to more balance in our lives and restore our ties to a spiritual America.
The sooner we make this our agenda the sooner we will be taking our first nap.
The Italic Institute of America