Monday, February 21, 2011

Dead Presidents Day

This afternoon I made it all the way from New Cut Road in Ellicott City to Lakeside Coffee in Columbia Town Center without hitting a light. Even more noteworthy is the added luck I had of making it all the way back to my office on Dobbin Road with all green signals. I just had to tell someone.

Of course traffic overall was pretty light today. I suppose this was because today is Presidents Day. It’s one of those holidays that aren’t as universally observed in the private sector as they are in the public sector. For me it’s one of those days where the person I really need to talk with is out for the day. I look for the mail before catching myself.

It’s an odd holiday too. In my formative years we celebrated George Washington on his actual birthday, just like the country had been doing for 90 years. By the time I was in high school that changed with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

Seriously, I’m not making that up. This is what Congress was working on while a war was raging in Southeast Asia…but I digress.

What really happened with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was the denigration of one of the most important figures in American history. We took away his birthday. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act degrees that “Presidents Day” shall be celebrated on the third Monday in February. That means that the holiday that supposedly still honors Washington a little more than the other guys will never fall on his actual birthday. This year is about as close as it gets. George's birthday is tomorrow.

To add insult to injury, I just read this story by Hank Stuever in The Washington Post about an interview with Bill Clinton that will air on MSNBC this evening, get this, in honor of Presidents Day. Chris Matthews apparently conducts a one hour love fest with the former president.

“For much of the hour, you'll wonder if you're watching one of Robert Smigel's old "X-Presidents" cartoon parodies for "Saturday Night Live." Matthews, aided by the likes of Terry McAuliffe, Mary Steenburgen and various biographers, remarks again and again how smart Clinton is, how generous, how famous, how friendly, how productive. Perhaps this special is some sort of MSNBC covert-op to cause paralytic apoplexy over there on the right?”

Decorum should dictate that you at least have to be dead to be honored on Presidents Day.

Hank Stuever summed up it well.

“We need more time apart, him and us. Bill Clinton is too young - and too alive - for anyone to make a good one-hour special about, just yet. Matthews has merely made a promotional film for someone who isn't running for anything.”

My colleague TW pointed out that Ronald Regan also has a birthday in February and he’s already dead too.

Happy Presidents Day!
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