Welcome to another three-day weekend Abomination. Today is a federal holiday, squishing Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays into one portmanteau “holiday” celebrating … what? Warren G. Harding? James Knox Polk? Buchanan, Johnson the First? Johnson the Second?
(The point was to have only two federal holidays in February — the month no one can pronounce. With Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a THIRD federal holiday, congress took the smart route and combined Washington and Lincoln and, hey! let’s just make it an olla podrida.
You know, there was a good civic REASON for those birthdays. Washington’s story is fortitude, perseverance and INTEGRITY. Lincoln is fortitude, patience and HONESTY. We WANT to celebrate those qualities. We NEED to celebrate those qualities. Citizenship is not easy, but self-governance is preferable to dictatorship, and we chose at Lexington and Concord to govern ourselves.
Democracy requires those qualities, and the two February Birthdays were civic, as well as historic holidays. They were about qualities, and the two presidents who embodied them best. Now, we have HISTORIC holidays. MLK Bday is closer to the original spirit, again, representing patience, non-violence and the mobilization of people for social change. Prexy’s Day represents … what?
Basically, the only thing the first 45 all share is residency in the White House (or Presidential manse, if you bend the rules a bit and include Washington, who never lived in the city that was to be named for him).
We have every kind of crime and every form of virtue embodied in our procession of Chief Executives in our non-monarchical monarchy. We had been raised for generations to respect the OFFICE, if not the occupier. So, Presidents day.
You want me to celebrate Tricky Dick Nixon and Ronald Ray-Gun? No thanks. You want me to celebrate Warren G. Harding? James Buchanan? Franklin “Whose He” Pierce? James Buchanon? Rutherford Birchard Hayes?!?? I’d prefer to demur.
Presidents day merely celebrates occupants of the White House, and that is no holiday unless one is a do it yourselfer doing some home improvement after a visit to the construction “box” store for the impliments and supplies for successful human nesting. But it still needs to be known as Residents’ Day.
All hail the occupants of federal housing.
On the other hand, Washington’s Birthday is still the 22nd, and I’ll celebrate that. I don’t mind three holidays in February. I would love to occasionally hear it pronounced correctly. At least by the professionals. I’m axing you nicely. (sic) Please.
TEM-per-UH-chure, weather boys and girls. Not “TEMP-uh-chure.”