Just when you thought California couldn’t get any crazier, a misguided lawmaker in the state has introduced a bill to drop individual celebrations for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays and make International Workers’ Day a paid holiday.
This outrageous bill was conceived by Miguel Santiago, a California Democrat Assemblyman. It would see the separate recognition of the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington folded up into a generic “Presidents’ Day” to make way for a day off on May 1 for the socialist International Workers’ Day, or May Day, which is celebrated by communist nations. It’s a day of parades and shows of military might in the former Soviet Union and other communist countries. This year, for example, more than 100,000 workers attended Moscow’s traditional May Day parade.
Under the bill, public schools would be required to “commemorate and direct attention to the history of labor movements in the United States.”
It’s a pretty shocking idea to sane people, but a closer look at Santiago’s donor list sheds some light on his motivation. As pointed out by Medium, his top contributors when he ran for re-election two years ago were unions. He raised more than $1.2 million from contributors like the California State Council of Laborers, the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, and the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees.
He’s up for reelection again this year. According to his official website, the 45-year-old Santiago is the son of immigrants and went to school at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has represented the 53rd Assembly District of California since his first election in 2014, an area that includes Downtown Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, and Koreatown. His causes in the legislature include affordable housing, making community college free, and strict gun control laws.
In the bill’s analysis, Santiago claims it is needed because students in the state don’t learn about the struggles workers experienced to earn basic labor rights, nor do they know the role played by immigrants in the labor movement.
Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper spoke for many of us when he addressed the Assembly during discussion of the proposed bill, saying: “I’m aghast that a bill like this would be able to get through committee. Are we in competition to be the laughing stock of the United States? Are we going that far to the left? This is ridiculous; this is insane; this is un-American.”
Bill could still pass
While it should come as no surprise that the bill failed, the vote went 27-22, which is a bit too close for comfort. It’s hard to believe that even in California, 22 representatives somehow thought this was a good idea and were willing to vote in favor of it. In fact, before it even made it to the floor for a vote, it was passed by the education and appropriations committees. Santiago has already submitted a motion for the bill to be reconsidered, so it’s possible that California could still cement its place as the laughingstock of the nation.
Sources for this article include: