Monday, February 15, 2016

The Increasingly-Slippery Logs of Lincoln

We the people of these United States no longer officially celebrate the birthday of George Washington, which is one week from today, or the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, which was this past Friday.  Instead, we have morphed the birthdays of our nation's metaphorical father and its de facto savior into one homogenized holiday, Presidents' Day, which we celebrate annually on February's third Monday. 

Presidents' Day is the participation ribbon of Federal holidays.  It celebrates nothing other than the fact that a person has attained a particular office.  It is a day on which every President, whether he was a good President, a not-so-good President, or simply a career public servant with good intentions who ended up attaining first the Vice-Presidency and then the Presidency, both of which were positions for which no one ever cast vote on his behalf, gets equal billing.    

Perhaps it is fitting to consider that by this time next year, the current occupant of the Oval Office shall have joined the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Alumni Association, and one of the current crop of candidates actively seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party (Clinton and Sanders) and the Republican Party (Bush, Carson, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, and Trump) shall likely be the American President.  I hedge my bet ("shall likely be") only because Jim Webb, whose pursuit of the Democratic Party's nomination was (a) short-lived; and (b) spectacularly unsuccessful, still might change his mind (or perhaps simply change it again) about launching a second bid for the White House this year - this time as an Independent.   

TANGENT ALERT:  If you are one of the twelve people of the great state of Iowa who voted for former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore in this month's Iowa Caucuses and wonder why I omitted his name from the GOP sextet in the preceding paragraph, then perhaps you missed the news item this past Friday afternoon regarding Gentleman Jim's decision to withdraw from the race.  At least Gilmore will always be able to taunt my state's governor by pointing out that he remained in the race longer than Christie did.

[We now return you to our regularly-scheduled rant, already in progress...]

So have a bit of fun on this Presidents' Day.  I am at the office today enjoying the peace and quiet associated with a Firm holiday but if you are enjoying a work-free Monday, then how about a little game to keep you entertained?  You practice scaring the snot out of yourself by running through the list of the eight remaining combatants (the order in which you do it is of no moment whatsoever) and saying the word "President" coupled with each candidate's last name.  You must say it aloud while standing in front of a mirror so that you can fully appreciate the amount of horror a particular name etches upon your face as you say it.  When you reach Rubio's name, repeat the phrase four times  - or drink four shots, whichever elevates you to a higher level of inner peace.  

A singularly excellent American President, speaking of men, adversity, and power, once observed:

One of the eight candidates still in the race on Presidents' Day 2016 shall be the victor to whom the spoils - and the power - will belong this time next year when the 2017 iteration of this holiday comes around again.  Here is to hoping that the man or the woman who is the Chief to whom we all say "Hail" is up to the task.  Lincoln's test is one that he or she cannot fail.  

For our sake far more than for their own.  


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