Monday, February 15, 2010

Presidents Day - Faux Holiday

It all began with a tweet. Today, being the faux holiday of "Presidents Day", instead of feeling all warm and fuzzy about previous officeholders, it just irritates me.

Why lump Presidents together? Seems ironic, especially given the trend of making each and every one of our children feel like the most brilliant and unique human being on planet earth. Don't former presidents deserve individual acknowledgement, too?
Smart guy Basil has this informative post on the subject which I learned about from his tweet on Twitter this morning. Without enough coffee, and with not enough sleep last night, I was feeling a bit testy as I remembered this silly holiday today. I tweeted a bit snarkily "Happy Presidents Day. What a stupid, dumbed down excuse for a federal holiday. Washington & Lincoln both deserve own day." After which Basil kindly pointed me to his blog post today.

Thanks, Basil.

Today is the date we now recognize as George Washington's birthday. Our first president. The man who led the troops across the Delaware River on Christmas Day. The first and certainly the standard bearer for future leaders, this man deserves his own day. If not him, then whom? Until 1971, both Abraham Lincoln's and George Washington's birthdays were honored as federal holidays. Then President Richard Nixon decided to combine the two and Presidents Day was born. We were led astray by a fellow Republican.

Abraham Lincoln, the Republican president who signed the Emancipation Proclamation and presided over the nation's Civil War, is no longer honored on a day solely devoted to remembering him. Now the day is chock full of retail store sales and that is how America celebrates. Frankly, Abe gets the short end of those retail store sales ads, too, as it is usually a likeness of Washington used to promote the sales, not Lincoln.

And we wonder why the re-writing of history is so prevalent in today's textbooks? It all starts somewhere. It's the Howard Zinning of American History.

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