Monday, February 18, 2013

Ruminations on Presidents Day 2013

Presidents Day is one of those half holidays, sort of like Martin Luther King Day. Banks, schools and government offices are closed but in the private sector, commemoration of the holiday is not universal. From my own experience, I’d guess that only about a third of our HoCo loco non retail businesses gave their employees the day off.

That would include my own company.

For those of us who were trying to conduct business today it can be challenging. In my own personal experience, more often than not the person I really need to speak to will inevitably be one of those who have the day off.

That’s not to say that nothing gets done. There is even a certain bravado expressed among those who had to work. When a meeting is held on day like today there is certain to be someone who points out that “at least somebody is working today,” as if being stuck at work today was some sort of badge of honor.

Then there is the whole homogenization of what once was celebrated only on the 22nd, no matter what day of the week it fell on. Congress gave that up in 1971 after deciding that a wandering holiday was inconvenient. It makes you wonder how long they’ll tolerate the 4th of July.

I did find a couple of Presidents Day items in The Washington Post this morning. First there was this column by John Kelly about a book entitled “The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia” It includes multiple choice quiz for serious history buffs. Until today I never knew that Grover Cleveland was called the Buffalo Hangman by some critics.

Then there is this feature by Chris Cillizza in which readers are asked to weigh in on the most underated and most overrated presidents. This is a political minefield and picks are bound to reflect personal political affiliations. One reader, identified as “blackwell575” tried to achieve balance.

"Over-rated by the right – Ronald Reagan 
Over-rated by the left – LBJ 
Under-rated by the right – FDR 
Under-rated by the left – Warren G. Harding"

Happy Presidents Day!
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