February is the month of presidents. It includes Washington’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday, Ronald Reagan’s birthday, and, of course, Presidents Day. Given that I teach and write about presidents, this time of year always prompts me to strange musings.
As President Obama prepares his State of the Union Address and the nation looks forward to a Presidents Day holiday, Americans should consider the warning examples of our worst chief executives.
Presidents Day celebrates America’s rich presidential history, yet the people we entrust to teach and write our history books—university professors—have a skewed view of our nation’s past leaders.
Only Americans of a certain age remember what the holiday on the third Monday in February is all about. I asked a few high-school students the other day what it is, exactly, we celebrate with "Presidents Day." One young man suggested that it was about selling used cars, since there are so many newspaper advertisements and television commercials announcing "birthday sales."
This year for Presidents Day, instead of buying a new appliance, I'm urging all of us to mark the holiday by reading George Washington's Farewell Address and Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural. I know. Focusing on two great presidents on Presidents Day. It's radical, but at least you won't be stuck in traffic on the way to the mall.
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