Skip to comments.Presidents Day: A Meaningless Day Off
Posted on 02/19/2012 7:43:27 PM PST by stolinsky
Presidents Day: A Meaningless Day Off
David C. Stolinsky
Feb. 20, 2012
Today is Presidents Day. It isnt Lincolns Birthday, which was Feb. 12. It isnt Washingtons Birthday, which will be Feb. 22. It is just the last day of a three-day weekend. Instead of a day to honor our great leaders of the past, it became merely a day not to work and to enjoy sales at stores. The meaning was removed.
Presidents Day? Which president? Millard Fillmore? He was an anti-Catholic bigot who signed the Fugitive Slave Law, which forced slaves who escaped to free states to be returned to their owners. Why should I honor him? Why should I mix the inferior with the outstanding? The result is a mediocre average that evokes neither admiration nor imitation, but merely apathy.
Now young people are not taught to honor our great men − they are taught not to honor them. Lincoln held the Union together and was shot for his efforts. But he expressed − by todays standards − racist views, so we cant honor him. Washington was indispensable to the founding of our republic, but he owned slaves − though he freed them at his death − so we cant honor him, either. No one is perfect, so all role models are removed, leaving our nation, like so many of our young people, fatherless.
America is undergoing a historectomy. No, not a hysterectomy, removal of the uterus, but a historectomy, removal of our history. But the two are related. Without a uterus, an individual cant have children. Without a history, a nation cant teach its values to the next generation. In both cases, continuity becomes impossible.
America is a relatively recent invention. Its population shifted over time with waves of immigration, and is still shifting because of continued immigration. Unlike most nations, America is an idea. To define America, we cannot refer to an ancient land with a stable population. To define America, we must refer to the ideas and ideals on which it is based.
But are we trying to preserve these ideas and pass them on to the next generation? No, we are doing our best to eradicate these ideas from our collective memory. We are attempting to induce national amnesia. We are performing a historectomy. We are taking the soul of our nation and hitting the Delete key.
When I went to elementary school, we pledged allegiance to the flag every morning. We were taught patriotic songs for national holidays. And we enjoyed Christmas and Easter vacations, not winter and spring breaks. After all, the vast majority of Americans, and all the founders, identified themselves as Christians.
In junior high, we had to memorize the Gettysburg Address, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the first and fourth verses of The Star-Spangled Banner. If you want to learn how a house is constructed, first study the foundation. But now, memorization is old fashioned.
In high school, we had to take American history and civics, not social studies. We learned about the great people and great events of our history, and (to a lesser degree) some of the unhappy events. I took ROTC, where my role models were master sergeants who had fought to defend my freedom. But now, ROTC has been kicked out of many high schools and universities.
I went to school, but I loved movies. I saw Sergeant York, the true story of how a pacifist farmer recognized that violent evildoers must be opposed by force, then went on to earn the Medal of Honor. I saw They Died with Their Boots On, a fictionalized account of General Custer, but at least I learned that he played a key role in the Civil War, which is more than most history majors know today.
And there was The Fighting Sixty-Ninth, depicting Father Duffys role in this New York units World War I exploits. So when I passed his statue in Times Square, I may have been the only one on the tour bus who knew who he was. You see, I was brought up to be an American.
Then there were the John Ford films of the West, where the U.S. Army was depicted in a sympathetic (perhaps overly sympathetic) light. I saw depictions of Abe Lincoln, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison. I was being entertained, but I was also being exposed to my countrys past.
Contrast my upbringing with that of todays kids:
· Todays kids read books and hear lectures that describe Americas past as questionable at best, and evil or downright genocidal at worst.
· Todays kids mumble a few words of the first verse of the Star-Spangled Banner at sports events. Forget about the fourth verse, the one that mentions (gasp!) God.
· Todays kids are taught that the founders were deists, not Christians that is, if religion is mentioned at all.
· Todays kids are lucky to place the Revolution or the Civil War in the right century, much less the right decade.
· Todays kids identify Grant as the man on the $50 bill, not the man who led the Union to victory and helped end slavery.
· Todays kids see movies depicting our leaders as scheming warmongers, and our military as sadistic morons (Spartan, Rendition, Syriana, the Bourne series).
· Todays kids see clergy depicted as idiots or criminals, and Christianity shown as a destructive force (Sin City, The Godfather Part III, The Da Vinci Code.
· Todays kids, and even law students, are taught that the Constitution is a living document, which means whatever a judge says it means today. Tomorrow it may mean something else. We will be ruled by the elite, who use what they call the Constitution as camouflage for their own whims.
· Todays kids are deprived of ROTC instructors or Scoutmasters as role models, so they may turn to a gang or cult. They are no longer exposed to the traditions that I was lucky enough to have passed on to me.
Traditions are important they help us carry on when it is easier, or safer, to quit. People who have been deprived of their history and traditions are unlikely to survive as a nation in times of danger. To me, this would be a tragedy. But to those who have been erasing our history and traditions, whether we survive as a nation is a matter of indifference.
The current generation of Americans has been taught little of the foundations of their country. And what they were taught was often negative. What they saw in movies only served to strengthen this negative impression. No wonder they view America with ambivalence at best, and with open hostility at worst. Are Taliban John Walker Lindh and Al Qaeda Adam Gadahn aberrations, or just the tip of the iceberg?
People in other nations have also been taught to see us as despicable. Hollywood depicts us that way, and liberal politicians describe us that way. Why are we surprised when others see us that way? Why are we shocked when terrorists act on this belief? We are doing it to ourselves.
If you want to destroy a house, undermine the foundation. If you want to destroy a nation, do the same. If you want to destroy people who are defined by ideas, trash the ideas. If you want to bring down a nation that is sustained by its history, perform a historectomy.
You want a meaningless day off work, so you can check out the sales? Then Presidents Day is for you. But I prefer Lincolns and Washingtons birthdays. Im old enough to remember when holidays actually meant something.
Dr. Stolinsky writes on political and social issues. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.
For the working stiff, there are no meaningless days off. We take ‘em where we find ‘em.
bump. even though our livelihood hangs by a thread, some of us, and some have had more days off in the last three years than in their entire lifetimes...yeah, sometimes a day off is just what you need.
Resist we much. Celebrate Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays in your own family, your own scout troop, your own church, etc. They can’t stop you.
Don’t let the current culture change your values. Don’t be helpless.
Treat it as Constitution Day.
You get tomorrow off?
I’m putting in 12, just like any other day.
Most working class Americans are either unemployed, underemployed, their jobs are threatened, or they are doing the work of two or three employees. So, any excuse for a holiday is fine with me.
Anybody remember the Washington’s Birthday sales?
People used to wait in line outside the stores for the bargains.
I was in the scouts just one day and I thought my scoutmaster was kind of fruity, so I quit. But I still went on to be a good marine, and then a good man. I mean no disrespect, but this post is kind of whiny. I just don't think "They Died with Their Boots On" was that good of a movie.
Of course Presidents like the idea that the holiday is meant to honor all of the Presidents, including the half who were below average.
Can you imagine what the delegates to the Constitutional Convention would have thought if they had been able to see what the Presidency would become? Even as recently as Harry Truman, the office was much less grandiose--Truman would travel by train to go home to Missouri.
Things began to go downhill when the country started electing Presidents who were not born in Virginia.
MLK day is a holiday but not Washington's birthday?
What kind of nonsense is this!
Like many things, the more you look into it, the more confusing it gets. Apparently the official federal title is still Washington’s Birthday (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington’s_Birthday). But since it isn’t Feb. 22, it’s called President’s Day in most places.
If you want to be even more confused, the British Empire didn’t adopt the Gregorian Calendar until 1752, being reluctant to accept anything to do with the pope. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Style_and_New_Style_dates).
So the day Washington was born, the calendar on the wall said Feb. 11. Converting this to the current calendar gives Feb. 22. Still, it’s not the exact day I object to—it’s the lack of respect for tradition.
That man was one of the worst Presidents in history!
Some students (like me) don’t get to coast for a day either! They would rather honor Cesar Chavez than Washington.
Got this in an email, pretty good!
What day is the 20th of February?”
I was talking with a 13-year-old neighbor girl and I asked her, “What day is the 20th of February?”
She said “It’s President’s Day!”
She is a smart kid.
I asked “What does President’s Day mean?”
I was waiting for something about Washington or Lincoln ..... etc.
“President’s Day is when President Obama steps out of the White House, and if he sees his shadow we have one more year of unemployment.”
You know, it hurts when hot coffee spurts out your nose...
Nixon? He brought us the EPA didn’t he?
What a great Republican.
How else will The Won ever get a day?
“They Died with Their Boots On” is my second favorite western. I especially liked the sequence where they make “Garryowen” the official tune of the “Immortal Seventh Cavalry.” My favorite western? “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon.”
I just wonder if my trash is getting picked up tomorrow
George Washington was born on Feb 11th, but moved his birthday to the 22nd when the calendar was adjusted.
A great man, killed by the elites.
GW was dehydrated, so his doctors bled him. That consisted of smearing a Spanish Fly poultice on him around the chest and neck to create blood blisters, and then cutting open the blisters, over and over again, until he died.
Taking it easy on the half day schedule?
The good news is on the half day schedule, it matters less which half you work.
No, just like any other day, I’m in at 06:00 and out at 18:30.
What an idiot. Alvin York was right when he was a pacifist. The German "evildoers" were no more (and possibly less) evil than the Brits and French. WWI made the world safe for Stalin and Hitler. Glorifying that slaughter is sick.
While the general public and most states will refer to this as “Presidents’ Day”, the holiday, though now celebrated on the third Monday of the month of February, is officially known as Washington’s Birthday by the fedgov. That is how I’ll celebrate it.
And severed our last connection to the gold standard.
In 1914, Germany extended all the way from Alsace to the Russian border. (See http://www.fsmitha.com/h2/map01eu.htm) But the Kaiser and his backers wanted even more. So they started an aggressive war, including the introduction of poison gas.
As a result, millions died, Germany was much reduced in size, the Bolshevik Revolution occurred, and the stage was set for World War II. If you don’t think that starting an unnecessary war was “evil,” how about “pretty bad” or at least “controversial”? Nobody I know glorifies slaughter. They glorify heroism.
I’d quibble with your history. Hey, I didn’t notice you were the author - sorry about the name calling. That was inappropriate.
That’s one of my favorite scenes, too. The Brit who taught them “Garryowen” is a fictional character, but Capt. Myles Keogh was born in Ireland and may have been the real source of that song. He died with Custer at Little Big Horn.
You might be interested in the connection between “Garryowen,” the film “We Were Soldiers,” and a hero of 9/11, Rick Rescorla. Check out http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?hl=en&gbv=2&gs_sm=3&gs_upl=1560l9657l0l10140l22l22l1l10l11l0l250l1717l2.6.3l11l0&q=cache:H2dKf0SR69sJ:http://www.stolinsky.com/news/news/default.asp?PagePosition=258+stolinsky+garry+owen+rescorla&ct=clnk
When I saw “We Were Soldiers...” I was disappointed that the score didn’t have “Garryowen.” I thought that would’ve had a very dramatic effect. Several years ago, my wife and I were on a coach tour of the western national parks, and for me, the highlight was going to Little Bighorn and seeing where Custer had been buried before he was disinterred and reburied at West Point.
The photos in my previous link have disappeared from the Web. A better link is http://www.stolinsky.com/news/news/news_item.asp?NewsID=603
I’ll bet you’ll enjoy them.
Couldn’t get this to open, Stoli.
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