Short Story

Smart Car 28

People’s Day 2091

Duke Hanley addressed the cars and people of Lake Oswego Oregon USA on People’s Day September 27, 2091.
“Hi everyone. Is it a good day?”
The audience responded “Yes, it’s a good day.”

“I’m so pleased Mayor Evers asked me to speak about People’s Day. My grandfather Jess was on the “Labor Day Revisions Committee in 2065 and here’s the story of their deliberations. The original impetus for Labor Day was lost. The idea of a working class and bosses was largely passé. Restaurant servers, factory workers and occupations had been replaced by automation. Computer algorithms made most business decisions. Most people alive today have no memory of labor conflicts or strikes. As efficiency improved, the price of things decreased and with population stability scarcity of goods was no longer a problem. The Guaranteed Basic Income was enough to get by on. As a result, many people loafed, but more volunteered or tried various ways to improve themselves. Some became amateur scientists. Joe Samson invented a better wheel for vehicles in his basement.”

“Grandfather Jess and the other committee members saw that a day honoring labor made little sense when so few labored in the accepted sense. There were and are far more creative people now than laborers. Servers in restaurants have been replaced by ordering pads at their tables, but at least in the better restaurants, there are still cooks. Building construction connecting modular pieces from a factory does not employ very many, but some people still want architecturally designed buildings. Sports and athletes are still popular. Much of entertainment is CGI which doesn’t require live actors, but there are still plays and concerts requiring live actors and musicians. The vast majority who weren’t “laborers” thought that the name and celebration of Labor Day should be changed to be more inclusive.”

Deuce the retro Dodge Charger of Duke’s wife Sheila broke in “Didn’t the unions and labor want to keep the status quo?” Deuce is a history buff.
“Good question Deuce. They did object to change, but Jess called their bluff by suggesting a national referendum. With labor’s share of the US population down under 10% they knew that they would lose against management, sports, entertainment, and other creatives. They decided to go along at that point.”

“That is how People’s Day started, and it has been much the same since 2066 through this year’s celebration. To make a clean break, the date was changed to the last Monday in September. We sing two songs, “It’s A Good Day” originally by Peggy Lee in 1950 and “Hey You”, a reworked version of “Hey Jude”, a Beatles song from 1968. Some people are grouches, but dropping religious, political, gender and ethnic argument for the day is encouraged. Most try to be good people on People’s Day. The highest forms of People’s Day are helping others, solving local and national problems, or working on an art, music or writing project. The people who do the best projects get on the People’s Day telecast.”

Carl/a, Duke’s nonbinary car, asked “Duke, was there much of a gender difference of opinion about the changes?”
“Another good question. Unlike some of the earlier political and women’s rights questions, there was unanimity in favor of the change by both sexes.”
Sheila asked, “How did all of this affect the cars?”

Duke smiled “Other than making their human comrades happier, it really has not affected the cars. For the cars in the audience, do you like People’s Day?”
Car honked and woo-hooed, and people laughed and cheered. All slowly left the amphitheater and most went to smaller People’s Day celebrations.
Maybe every day should be “People’s Day”.