” Presidents Day” could easily have just slipped by unnoticed had the government not took the day off. No mail, no banks, no services; no problem. Granted that this holiday growing up for most boomers was more likely to be associated with linen sales and cherry tree chopping down folklore than it was of any great important event caused by the actions of a President, but it still maintained the significance of honoring those in the past that had done some pretty good work for the country. At least it did then.
Now that one finds themselves all grown up however, the day seems more a misnomer for a day that should be spent less on holiday then getting some work done. Now don’t get me wrong, lots of our Presidents should have their day; maybe not so much for some others.
Lincoln who fought the Great War that preserved the union and set in motion events that ended slavery for sure deserved a day, as did George Washington for taking the job in the first place. As do a half a dozen other officers of state that battled against everything from states rights, cholera outbreaks, secular interests determined to dismantle the union and those who fought depression and economic collapses that tore the country apart at the seams.
Lest we forget the great awakening that came with the sixties and well, hats off to what some of them went through. Clean air acts, civil rights, consumer protection, failed wars, and a host of other issues which lesser men would certainly have thrown their hands up in despair over. But lately, and this may largely be in part because we are all so close to it, our Presidents have been less of men of high dedication and issue than firemen, just putting out fires till their terms are up!
Granted, they all had their personal flaws. From the movie actor that got elected to reduce government and then actually tripled its size, to the charming one who couldn’t keep his hands off his staff. For sure, it appears some have been driven more by the powers that influence office rather than the needs of the people. Lobbying goes all the way to the top. We have come to cynically believe and corporate America has as of late as much of a right to be represented in that Oval office as you do.
And then there is the new disconnect in communications between the President’s job and the man on the street. The idea must never be forgotten that the President is chosen from the people and not those who control the workings of Washington. Let’s face it folks, the Kings of Europe of old didn’t live nearly as good as Presidents do today. In a world where power is equated with money one can look back at the Bush years and wonder just how much money can a President spend, before someone says, “hey, that’s enough?” If power is tied to money then for sure, no questions hands down, President USA is the most powerful job in the world. That kind of power can be pretty disconnecting.
These elected officers of today are huger in life than any rock star and live a life surrounded by security and cordoned off from the general public. Asking them to keep in touch with the ideas and ideals of the people that put them in office at this point might seem a bit too much; but it is still job #1 for a President, no matter how many holidays they get.