Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom called Massachusetts, the government decided that everyone who worked in the castle was special and, therefore, deserved special holidays. The villagers who worked in the valley far below still had to get up with the dawn, leave their homes, and go to work, just as they always did. Taxes, of course, had to be paid: running the castle was expensive, you see, and … (please continue in the comments).
Republican Senator Michael Knapik, who has filed a bill to repeal Evacuation and Bunker Hill days, is right about this:
“It’s not about the history; it’s about a rip-off of the taxpayers.”
A Wicked Local reporter actually managed to penetrate the castle, and filed this report last week:
Abolish Bunker Hill Day And Evacuation Day Holidays (S 1735) The Judiciary Committee’s hearing on a proposal to abolish the Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17) holidays became heated at times.
The Statehouse and other state and local government buildings in only Boston, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are officially closed each year on both dates. Thousands of local and state workers in those communities are given the two days off. Thousands of other state employees in all other cities and towns across the state are allowed to take the two days off or use them as “floating holidays” – a procedure under which they can take off two days of their choice during the year.
Supporters of abolishing the holidays say that eliminating the two holidays would save an estimated $5 million and would be a very important pro-taxpayer, symbolic move during a time when the state is drowning in debt and thousands of citizens have lost their jobs and houses.
Legislators who champion the holidays say that Bunker Hill Day commemorates the important Battle of Bunker Hill while Evacuation Day celebrates a key victory for the colonies as General George Washington and his troops drove the British out of Boston.
Either everyone should get these two days off, or no one should. Giving a special holiday to state workers when everyone else goes to work suggests a cynically halfhearted attitude toward these important historical anniversaries and, more generally, a failure of democracy.