Our national emergence, or reflections on "precedent's day"
There's not much in the current configuration of President's Day to recommend it as an honest day of reflection on national leadership. Washington's birthday celebration was hijacked in the late '60s as a mechanism to supposedly provide workers with a three-day weekend, but was really a means to prevent absenteeism and, more importantly to spur retail sales. And sadly, by mashing Washington's and Lincoln's birthday's together, we don't celebrate either one's birthday on the actual date. The executive order sealing the deal, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (UMHA), was signed into legislation in 1971 by Richard Nixon. Not a crook, you say? I'd say both Washington and Lincoln were robbed, as was our nation, of a certain paradigm of reflection.
This brings me back to the concept of identity I'd examined previously. The truth is, we as a people do reflect. Despite the focus on appliance and sales and discount airfares around this time of year, there has always been a great deal of intellectual curiosity around the lives of our presidents, and over the life of Lincoln in particular. Curiosity to the tune of 15,000 books. But this is different from how we have struggled as a nation particularly over the past three years to re-emerge with a sense of identity, Identity is what Washington struggled with; and what Lincoln struggled with. It is not something that Donald Trump struggles with at all. He thinks he knows who we are and who we should be. He is mistaken, and he is endangering not only our identity but the lives of those who seek to be a part of the dream of who we have struggled to be for so long.
So, when the president of the United States declares a national emergency for the purposes of funding a wall to keep people from entering this country to seek political asylum from harmful conditions across our borders and then flies off to Mirror of Largess for President's Weekend, we know he is not using this weekend to reflect on the state of the nation. He is not setting any positive precedents for future leaders. Quite the contrary. He does not have the nation's best interests in at heart.
So, Happy President's Day whatever that means to you: time with family, a visit to a monument, finally reading that biography you've been meaning to, buying that refrigerator you've been desperate for, or perhaps reflecting on the next candidate for precedent of these united states in 2020 election.