Monday, February 21, 2005

Presidents' Day? ARGH

I hate the unofficial name of this holiday -- Presidents' Day. The underlying notion is that we are celebrating all presidents no matter how woeful (Carter), corrupt (Nixon/Clinton/Harding), inept (Hoover, Taft), racist (Taylor-Fillmore-Pierce-Buchanan), semi-legitimate (JQ Adams, Hayes), unfinished (Garfield, Kennedy) or unimportant (Arthur, WH Harrison). Sure, it's fine to celebrate the great ones (Washington, Lincoln, Reagan, TR, Jefferson, Polk, Truman) but there are other ways to do so other than an all-encompassing misnomer.

Officially, Presidents' Day is still known as Washington's Birthday. But because the Congress combined the Lincoln's Birthday (Feb. 12) and Washington's Birthday (Feb. 22) into one federal holiday, the holiday has been unofficially renamed in a way that cheapens the accomplishments of Lincoln and Washington both. And that's what is so ridiculous about "Presidents' Day". This should be a day to remember and exalt the leadership of this country both in its founding and its sundering (and forcible reconstitution). Instead, the importance of these men fades with time and the detachment of this holiday from its purpose and its roots.

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