Monday, February 15, 2010

Against P Day

Presidents Day is a terrible idea for a holiday.  Just an awful idea.  In this republic, there's absolutely no good reason to take a day to honor our presidents.

On the other hand, Washington's Birthday is a perfectly good idea.  If we're going to honor great Americans, I'm not going to argue with those who put George Washington first on the list of those to be honored.  In fact, according to wikipedia, the official federal holiday is Washington's Birthday, but "about a dozen" states have renamed it to Presidents Day or something else.  According to my kid's school lunch calendar, she has today off for the fairly imperial-sounding "President's Day," but I have no idea whether that's an official state designation or just what someone in charge of typing up the school lunch calendars came up with. 

The consensus Three Greatest Presidents are Washington, Lincoln, and (Franklin) Roosevelt, and I wouldn't argue with any celebration of those three -- the other two Greatest Men Who Were Presidents are Jefferson and Madison, and I'm also on board with honoring them (I'm not a huge Jefferson fan, but I don't really object to his status as a great American.  Want argue Adams?  Ike?  Take it to comments).  On the other hand, I'm also pretty comfortable with Washington and King being the only two Americans honored with national holidays. 

So, Happy Washington's Birthday, even if it isn't actually Washington's birthday, and even if most of what your seeing this weekend are references to Presidents Day, President's Day, or Presidents' Day -- any way you spell it, a really bad idea.  Which reminds me -- if you happen to think of James Buchanan, Franklin Pierce, or Richard Nixon today, I think what you're supposed to do is spit twice over your left shoulder to avoid bad luck. 


  1. The big problem is that we have way too many midwinter holidays as it is. Who wants another day off in February, when we have no federal holidays in March or April or June, when you might actually enjoy them?

    What we should have done with the MLK holiday is have it on April 4. It's a much better time for a holiday than mid-January, and would have been a good way to shove the whole thing in Whitey's face.

  2. Well, we currently have federal holiday's for Rickey Henderson's birthday and for Louis Armstrong's supposed birthday, right? Lincoln doesn't help your problem, of course, which is why we're stuck with this retched Presidents Day. Madison was born on March 16, Franklin on January 17, FDR on January 30. So Madison is possibly helpful...let's see: Babe Ruth was born on February 6. Uh...Mark Twain is November 30. Melville is August 1 -- that'd be nice. Elvis was born in January, right? NJ boys Sinatra (Dec 12) and Springsteen (Sept 23) aren't that useful. Bob Dylan, May 24, too close to Memorial Day. But Ella Fitzgerald is April 25 -- how about her? I feel that I'm getting pretty far afield here...better stop before I get to Bob Mould (Oct 16; beats Columbus Day, IMO). Trolling around for someone in June: Warhol is August, Grant Wood is in February. OK, I give up. I would say that I'd rather celebrate Grant Wood's birthday than even 1/44th of Richard Nixon, James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, or George W. Bush.

    Nominations of great American born in June, anyone?

  3. Let's not forget Benjamin Franklin, "The only president of the United States, who was never president of the United States."

  4. Got him in the longish comment, January 17.

  5. Stevie Wonder is May 13. We could then push Memorial Day into June; celebrating it on D-Day makes sense.

  6. [Stevie Wonder]

    Yeah, but who'll write the song to push for the national holiday?

    I like the D-Day idea, but I'm still wondering if there's any major June birthday.

    BTW, sooner or later a GOP president & Congress are going to rename or replace Labor Day, so it's worth thinking about who is worth honoring around that time -- although I and probably most in the tourism industry could certainly live with Constitution Day, September 17, thereby extending "summer" a week or two. Actually, sort of surprised that the GOP didn't do that a few years ago.

  7. Lou Gehrig is June 19. He already has a disease, so why not a holiday too?

  8. Well, he is the Greatest 1B Ever...that's something, although I'm not as convinced that he's one of the ten greatest baseball players. Other nominees, anyone?

    BTW: man, was the Iron Horse good. Think Pujols is good? Here's their ten-best OPS+ comparison

    Gehrig 221 208 203 194 194 190 181 177 177 176
    Pujols 190 188 187 178 172 168 157 157 151

    So if Pujols still has his best five seasons to come, he might match the Iron Horse. Wow.

    (That 221? Didn't lead the league, don'tcha know. Or even his team. Yikes! 1927: Ruth, 226).

  9. Oh, and I hadn't thought about Labor Day, but the obvious replacement would be 9/11. Conservatives love them some 9/11.


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