2006
12.21

With Presidents’ Day coming up quickly, I think it is time we started taking this day a little more seriously. Sure, we used to use it to celebrate Lincoln and Washington, but thanks to this “PC” renaming of the day, we are being forced to celebrate all of the presidents.

Hate Clinton? Tough shit – on Presidents’ Day, you are honoring him. Despite Dubya? Ha ha! That day celebrates him, too! You can’t honor Presidents’ Day without tacitly celebrating all of the presidents. Ain’t that a pisser?

So, here’s what we do.

First, there are many perfectly good Presidents that don’t get recognized at all at any time of the year. I would start with Millard Fillmore, who would be appalled that the closest thing to a tribute to him is a not especially funny comic strip about a duck. That is not a political comment. I like conservative humor when it is funny. It just so happens that one thing that both science and religion agree on is that Mallard Fillmore is the only comic less funny than Marmaduke.

Then there is John Adams. Second president and most people probably would think you were talking about a beer if you mentioned him. Forget about John Quincy Adams. While James K. Polk’s fortunes were buoyed by the They Might Be Giants song, the truth is he has been mostly relegated to the status of punchline.

Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison and John Tyler. Zachary Taylor, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan. Rutherford B. Hayes, James Garfield and Chester Arthur. These are not names that will live in infamy. These are names that are all but forgotten.

In their lifetimes, people hated or loved them as much as we hate or love our leaders. Folks loved or hated them for reasons – reasons that might make us smirk and say “how naive” before we go back to hating or loving our leaders for more or less the same reasons. We don’t just do a disservice to these presidents by forgetting them, we do a disservice to the people who elected them. We show that we really don’t have the slightest clue about our origins as a nation.

Oh, sure, we know we fought in the civil war, and boy our boys in World War II were brave, but there’s a whole lot more to history than that and ignoring it – deliberately ignoring it – makes us, well, ignorant and (worse) really lets the man stick it to us again and again and again over multiple generations. What is worse, the mass ignorance of our population combined with their voting power ensures that even the people who do understand what is going on and why it is going on get screwed generation after generation.

So, I am proposing that we celebrate Presidents Day by each picking a specific president and trying to find out as much about that President as possible. Not their biography, but what got them elected. Why did they win? What forces were in play that led to their rise in power?

Then we share. Then we look at the 2008 election and ask ourselves “what forces are allowing the current frontrunners in both parties to ascend” and, furthermore, “is that really in the best interest of normal human beings?”

We, yes the nine of us that regularly frequent TDE, can change the world. Or at least get some cool T-Shirts printed up.

  1. Nine? Our readership tripled?!?