I was working yesterday, a typically slow February day in the park, when a visitor remarked that the place must be really busy on President’s Day. How charming that this gentleman thought Americans dash out to the nearest museum or national park to learn about presidents on President’s Day. But if all the people with their kids at the mall today were any indication, President’s Day is still a great day for shopping deals.
At Scheels, a right-wing sporting goods store, they have these bronze statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in front of the store entrance. Accompanying the statues are distorted, out of context quotations that make the founders appear to have favored a Christian theocracy as our form of government. Yet even Scheel’s was open for business on President’s Day. Apparently they would rather their employees and customers spend the day buying Under Armor products than reflecting on the founders’ legacy.
Having Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays rolled into one President’s Day guts it of any meeting. Its name sounds like it’s honoring all presidents, even one-month wonder William Henry Harrison and our own little-beloved Herbert Hoover. We already have two patriotic holidays glorifying our wars plus Independence Day. I don’t expect Americans, who don’t get very many days off, to turn into presidential scholars for a day. I give credit to the boosters of Martin Luther King’s Birthday, who have been trying to turn that holiday into a day of service (“a day on, not a day off”).