Monday, February 18, 2019

Fox & Friends Has Interesting Segment on The American Revolution

Thanks to "Fox & Friends" for running this interesting segment on the American Revolution from The Museum of the American Revolution.  (One complaint: It's not "Presidents Day." It's George Washington's Birthday, Observed). Check it out at the link below...

Happy George Washington Day!

Move Presidents Day to January 20: Let George Washington Have His Own Holiday (Again)

Here we are at the most worthless, meaningless holiday of the year: Presidents Day.  That's the official name of the holiday in some states, but still not with the federal government. Nevertheless, the general public has fully embraced "Presidents Day." And, in so doing, we undermine the man who made all our other Presidents, indeed our very country, possible.

The United States officially and explicitly honors just two people with their own exclusive holiday. (Three if you count Jesus of Nazareth for "Christmas," but that's for another discussion). Those two are Christopher Columbus (Columbus Day) and Martin Luther King, Jr (Martin Luther King Day). Whether we should celebrate Columbus Day is a debate worthy of its own attention, and it's one I've already weighed in on. As for Dr. King, I fully support a holiday in his honor.

Dr. King led America toward fulfilling the promise in its Declaration of Independence, namely that "all men are created equal." As Dr. King himself so eloquently declared at the Lincoln Memorial in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, the Founding Fathers issued a "promissory note" to future generations. King's words still resonate today:

"...we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was the promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Martin Luther King, Jr. deserves his own holiday, but he is not the only American citizen that should get his own day. There are others. And I would submit that the father of the United States would be such a man.

Some will of course protest that Abraham Lincoln, our sixteenth President, deserves a national holiday. I agree. Let Lincoln have his own holiday. It's questionable whether our politicians will ever go for this, given the proximity that Lincoln and Washington have on the calendar - both their birthdays are in February. But I completely agree with the argument that Abraham Lincoln deserves holiday recognition. But I do not agree that honoring Lincoln means Washington should have to surrender his day.

For those who say we should have a holiday honoring all our Presidents or for those who don't want to have to stop saying "Presidents Day," I have a solution: Make January 20 (which is Inauguration Day every four years) an annual holiday celebrating the office of the presidency. It doesn't have to be an actual day off work, except for when there is an actual inauguration, but January 20 can be known every year as "Presidents Day." And that way, Washington can have back his holiday.

There was a time when most Americans would agree that George Washington is worthy of singular, exclusive celebration. Today, it seems most Americans don't even care. And this is sad, given the fact that we wouldn't even have a country today were it not for George Washington.

Without Washington leading the Continental Army, the American Revolution would've been lost. Without Washington holding his army together and keeping them from revolting during the dangerous interval between the victory at Yorktown (1781) and the Treaty of Paris (1783), the American Revolution would've collapsed into a military coup and major civil unrest. Without Washington presiding over the Constitutional Convention and then supporting the new Constitution, the United States would've sputtered into oblivion and ultimately disintegrated under the ineffectual Articles of Confederation. Without Washington keeping the country together as its first President and putting in place the practical foundation of our civil government, the United States never would've gotten off the ground.

I could go on and on. Washington flatly refused offers to become king or dictator. He resigned his commission at war's end when he could've continued as Commander-in-Chief and exerted monumental leverage (if not outright control) in the affairs of government. After the new Constitution was ratified and he was elected (unanimously) as President, he served two terms and then refused to remain President in perpetuity. He voluntarily relinquished authority not once, but twice. He is alone among leaders in world history in this regard. And Washington renounced, as the Rev. Richard Allen said, "the only stain with which man could reproach him" by freeing his slaves in his will. (See Allen's eulogy here). He was the only slave-holding President to do so, and in essence made his last public statement a denunciation of slavery. Like I said, I could go on and on.

George Washington was, in every respect, the indispensable man of American history. And he more than deserves every monument erected to him and every school or street or building named after him. He deserves Washington State as well as the nation's capital being named in his honor. He deserves to be on our dollar bill and our quarter. And, yes, he deserves a holiday named exclusively in his honor.

Yes, I'm aware that the legal name of the federal holiday designated for the third Monday in February is George Washington's Birthday Observed, but that is no longer the name that is recognized by the general public.

And it's a travesty. We have betrayed the man who made our country possible.

I can't put it any better than the sixteenth President of the United States. In 1842, a young Abraham Lincoln was invited to speak at the Washington Temperance Society on February 22 (the date of Washington's birthday under the Gregorian calendar). Here is what Lincoln said:

"This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birth-day of Washington. We are met to celebrate this day. Washington is the mightiest name of earth — long since mightiest in the cause of civil liberty; still mightiest in moral reformation. On that name, an eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to the sun, or glory to the name of Washington, is alike impossible. Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its naked deathless splendor, leave it shining on."


Happy George Washington Day!