Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Presidents Day

Is it Presidents Day or President's Day? I am thinking without the apostrophe. Lately it seems like every day is President's day, although I am uncertain that is what The Framers had envisioned. What do you think The Framers would have thought of George W. Bush. Being that they were such fans of checks and balances, and he seems to be just fine without them, I think they would have not been all that fond of him.

It seems on this day it would be useful to take a look at the state of the presidency, as well as celebrate the memory of Washington & Lincoln. It seems to me that overall we're in a little bit of a decline. Presidents in my lifetime: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, & Bush.

I find it unlikely those faces will turn up on a mountain anytime soon. I guess Nixon opened China, Carter began the road to Middle East Peace, and Reagan buried Communism. Personally I am a big Clinton fan, but like the Bushes that bracket him, I don't think history will be kind. I'm not sure Ford will get much of a mention either except in a trivia sort of way. Really I guess that most Presidents wind up being trivia. Am I a bad American because I would likely be guessing on most Presidential trivia?

There was a group that was talking about putting Reagan on the 20 dollar bill. Somehow I think the current face has more stature. But I guess things do change from time to time and perhaps if we can get a real fight going about whether or not the Reagan $20 is appropriate we can keep the legislators from doing something that would really hurt us.

I keep mulling the Carlin idea in my mind, that in the end we can't complain about who is elected. Like it or not, these guys are apparently the best we can do. Seems like anyone who really would want to be President we can find a fairly good reason why they ought not be allowed to be. Who do you think will be next? No incumbent, no VP running for the top spot, no Democratic standouts? Wouldn't it be weird if the time can and nobody ran? I wonder if the constitution has a way of dealing with that? There's one they didn't cover in my high school US History class.

Do you think that in the near history of the past that people thought the same ho-hum thoughts about their presidents that we often do now? Were people talking about how really Washington or Lincoln were all spin and that really they weren't significant? Somehow I get the feeling that under either of those administrations you knew that you were being well looked out for, and that their legacies are deserved. But nobody here now was there then, and certainly historians do have a role in the memory of a Presidential legacy.

Isn't this the period when George W. is supposed to be thinking about his legacy? I wonder how they will spin that one on future Presidents Days?


andrea said...

i think it is presidents' day - as in the day of more than one president. i think?

Peg said...

You're right, Andrea. It's plural possessive, so it's Presidents' Day.

Interesting post, DB; I'm still musing on that second-to-last paragraph especially. It led me to this: did the Industrial Revolution breed an entirely different type of person, along with completely changing the way business was done? I think the answer is yes, and I think part of the answer to your question(s) might lie somewhere in there. But that's as far as I've gotten with it.

Anonymous said...

from http://www.opm.gov/fedhol/2006.asp

** This holiday is designated as "Washington's Birthday" in section 6103(a) of title 5 of the United States Code, which is the law that specifies holidays for Federal employees. Though other institutions such as state and local governments and private businesses may use other names, it is our policy to always refer to holidays by the names designated in the law.

so there you go...
- lindsay

Anonymous said...

Some food for thought:

Lincoln suspended civil rights like the writ of habeas corpus and had soldiers 'policing' voting booths in swing states on election day. He was considered a terrible president by at least half the nation. Fortunately for him, they weren't voting when his reelection time came around.

Washington was in fact a terrible leader in many ways. See Fort Necessity. He was popular if a bad general, and was elected to be a pretty figurehead. Set an interesting precedent...

- Beth

Anonymous said...

"They say the president is a rather morose fellow."
"Indeed. His Ipod is filled with nothing but Morrissey and Depeche Mode."