Today, while many of us linger over a late breakfast on a holiday morning, Toledo police officers will cruise through their patrol sectors.
This afternoon, as some of us watch the Mud Hens end their season at Fifth Third Field, nurses will check on newborns at Mercy Children's Hospital. This evening, when we scrub the grill after what may be the last cookout of the summer, operators will be at the controls of the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant.
For them and countless others, this is not so much Labor Day as a day of labor. But on the job or not, America's workers deserve a moment of tribute.
Some will be feted in parades across the country. Others will sit alone at home, amid the quiet satisfaction of knowing that five days a week, they deliver a job well done.
The two major-party nominees who seek the presidency are traveling coast to coast -- President Obama is in Toledo today -- telling voters how they would run the country. The words of Mr. Obama and Mitt Romney may be true, but the assumption is false: The president doesn't run the country; America's workers do.
The high-school janitor whose alarm goes off when it's pitch dark. The short-order cook who locks up the diner after midnight. The cab driver who extends his day because his oldest kid is in college.
Even well-heeled, well-coiffed white-collar workers make America go. But those jobs come with bigger paychecks, fancier educations, and more luster than others. The people who do the jobs no one else wants, or work on the holidays everyone else gets, rate special thanks. Their work surely holds no shame.
If there is anything to be ashamed of in today's workplace, it's that it lacks enough room for everyone who wants a place in it. If it didn't, Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney would have far less to talk about.
Our struggling economy suffers from an 8.3 percent unemployment rate. Some 12.8 million Americans are looking for work, an amazing 41 percent of them for 27 months or more. That's too many of us without paychecks and without the daily dignity of going to a job -- something many take for granted.
In a political year, the nominees will joust over who is more qualified to work in the White House. On this Labor Day, a higher priority is figuring out how to put more Americans back to work.