Remembering Our First President

I’m on record as being opposed to “President’s Day,” which seems to be simply another excuse for a federal holiday, and it mushes all the presidents together as though they’re all equally worthy of honoring, when clearly some are better than others, even if we disagree on which are which. Back in the olden days, we used to celebrate both Lincoln’s birthday on the 12th, and Washington’s birthday on the 22nd (today). Scott Johnson has some thoughts on the birthday anniversary of the American Cincinnatus, a man who could have been king, but instead created the republican template for all presidents to follow, broken only by FDR, who ran for third and fourth terms.

9 thoughts on “Remembering Our First President”

  1. I’ll be called a racist for my opinion, but I think the “Presidents Day” idea is a bad idea.

    It KILLED the names of possibly the two best American Presidents. They share a day, with no names mentioned, but MARTIN LUTHER KING, gets a day to himself, with his name in tact, right out front.

    Hey, American history re-writers, if Washington had lost the Revolutionary War, King wouldn’t BE King. If Washington had won the Revolutionary War, but Lincoln had lost the Civil War, or hadn’t freed the slaves, King wouldn’t BE King. That aside, there are many people, both black and white, who fought for equal rights, before King, so that he could BE King. We should be honoring King, I truly believe that. But not at the expense of remembering by name two other great and important Americans.

    Yes King was a great leader, but he was the focal point at that time, he was NOT the entire movement. He became the face of the fight for equal rights. That said, we should remember ALL the people who fought for equality of the races, not just King. Perhaps we should have had IMHO, a Civil Rights Awareness Day. On that day, make it a point of speaking of all these heroes, not just King.

    Because of moves like bundling Lincoln and Washington, we’re losing, or may have already lost, our national identity, and heritage. Simply because the guys who we honored were white? No, but how many people under 25 know WHO the Presidents are, that get honored on “Presidents Day”? You’d have to be pretty dense to miss just who MARTIN LKUTHER KING DAY was honoring.

    What happened to Columbus Day? It’s completely gone. Except for that Native American guy who goes to claim Italy or Venice in the name of Indigenous Americans!! He pops up every few years. Columbus gets lost in that shuffle.

    When did you last hear anything positive about Veteran’s Day? Last Veterans Day, I heard one story about WWI, and a dozen about Viet Nam PTSD, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. Most of us who served, including minorities, did so honorably and without being harmed or harming any of the innocent people of the world.

    Don’t even mention Flag Day. Why have a day, to honor a flag, with a stupid pledge that includes the word G-O-D? Isn’t he white? We’re not really sure, but some of the flag stripes are.

    We still get Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if we didn’t the economy of the country would be worse than it already is. Killing Thanksgiving means no Black Friday. But wait, that Friday is black, does that make it doubly good? Relax, it’s a joke, if Chris Rock had said that you’d be howling.

    Christmas is about gifts and trees. It’s no longer about, or tied to, our Judeo-Christian background. We aren’t a nation divined by or endowed with basic rights from a supreme being. Christmas by Intelligent Design sounds fairly hollow. Jesus, who was “white” remember, has been removed from Christmas. We are One Nation Under Visa, Master Card, iPhone, Guitar Hero and Celtics vs Lakers on NBC!!

    Mangers have been proven, by the ACLU, to be just too divisive.

    I don’t begrudge King his day, I don’t begrudge the African-American community his, and their, gains. But his gains were everyone’s gains. He fought for minority rights, not just Negro rights. Do we ever hear that? When do we get Caesar Chavez Day, to cover the freedom fights for Mexican-Americans? And what do we shove out of the way for Chavez Day, to keep the “correct” number of Federal and Bank Holidays? I just don’t see how pushing Washington and Lincoln into some nameless, faceless semi-celebration, raises all of us up as Equal Americans.

    And THAT was Kings life work remember.

    Equality. Not superiority.

  2. Yea, they should rename Martin Luther King day, ‘First Blacks Day’. So, they can down the list of all the “First Black to do, blah blah blah” and be done with it.

    When you need a whole month to give enough time to name all the first blacks to do this that and the other thing – then I think the whole topic is getting a bit contrived.

    Bleh, it’s Monday….

  3. Josh,
    I said something like that once while discussing, in a cowardly way of course, Black History Month. A young gentleman of color who worked for me said he didn’t understand my attitude, white people had the other 11 months.

    I reminded him, that those other 11 months were for EVERY other race who lived in America, not just whites.

    Blank stare time.

    He’d never considered that there is no Asian History Month, Spanish History Month, German History Month, Irish History Month, etc. He was Black and he had a month. His idea was that everyone should get a month, until I reminded him there are more groups than months. He thought that some groups might have to share a month.


    He didn’t think he should have to share because, (enter standard slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, etc references here) He didn’t think having a % of the 365 days per year based on racial demographic % was fair either. That’s a bogus idea I know, but it makes it’s point. He had his month and was keeping it.

    The saddest part is that this guy was NOT from the downtrodden masses of the ghetto or south. His dad was a professor at a UNC System university, his mother was a high school history teacher and he was a few credits away from having a masters in animal science. His wife had a degree, and his daughter was in a private school!!

    But in his minds eye he was part of the American black culture, the GG-grandchildren of slave families, put upon by the man and deserving of (disproportionate) advantages and recognition.

    It’s a sad phenomenon.

  4. “President’s Day” is still legally Washington’s Birthday. Lincoln is off the island. I suppose “President’s Day” is some PC crap to avoid hurting his feelings.

  5. Even Casimir Pulaski still has a day named after him, and a number of schools in Chicago aren’t in session in his honor the first Monday of March every year…

    Lincoln has the Lincoln Highway, George Washington has a University, but MLK has a road in just about every city in America…

  6. Rand, you should read this article:

    It explains, as Bob Hawkins notes, that “Washington’s birthday” is the legal name for the holiday. “Presidents’ Day” has no official status – it was in the first draft of the 1968 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, but that version wasn’t passed by Congress. There is widespread disagreement over how to spell Presidents’ day, due to the unofficial nature of the name.

    Also see (note the footnotes).

    And Columbus day remains a federal holiday as well.

  7. Two more things:

    1) Presidents’ day isn’t “some PC crap”. It was a ploy by car dealers in the 1980s to sell more cars.

    2) Rand, in 1968, they had already expressed your sentiments:

    “It was the collective judgment of the Committee on the Judiciary,” stated Mr. William Moore McCulloch (R-Ohio) “that this [naming the day “President’s Day”] would be unwise. Certainly, not all Presidents are held in the same high esteem as the Father of our Country. There are many who are not inclined to pay their respects to certain Presidents. Moreover, it is probable that the members of one political party would not relish honoring a President from the other political party whether he was in office, no matter how outstanding history may find his leadership.”

  8. “German History Month”

    Well I guess we do get Oktoberfest. Although, after a few weeks of mass beer consumption and nitrate-laden-sausage induced delirium we forget what exactly it is we were celebrating, sleep it off, and go back to work.

    I’m fairly certain Oktoberfest is not about celebrating Germania’s liberation from the Roman empire. It’s something about somebody marrying a horse and then they won a trophy and ordered everyone a round of beers, Ya! ets gud!

  9. Josh,
    you forgot the “Best Costume” event. Come dressed as your favorite drunken wurst.

    See, even with enough German and Italian heritage to make fun of myself over, I know NOT to joke about February.

    Uh oh, I’m cowardly again.

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