Today is Presidents’ Day, a day set aside tat to honor/remember those 43 people who have held the highest office in the land. I guess technically it is more designed to honor Washington and Lincoln since their birthdays are close on the calendar. I think that it probably does neither of the above things very well, if at all.
It is a federal holiday of course, so those of us who are postal workers take part. Schools seem to sorta use it or not, depending on the need for making up days lost to weather. ( I’m guessing most of them are using it today as a school day.) Banks seem to go with an either or approach.
I know, we used to have a day for George and Abe but they were consolidated when Martin Luther King, Jr day was added as a federal holiday. Both of those actions were correct, I believe. I’m not advocating an extra holiday just a better use of this one. I remain convinced that our educational system does not do well in educating its “charges” about our presidents. History, after all, is dull and boring, is it not? In our technologically advanced society, the greatest emphasis needs to be elsewhere.
I have been a big history fan for a long time. However, I did not become a fan until college. I have no great recollection of history teachers or subjects from public school, so the lack of emphasis is not a recent occurrence. My college history professors undoubtedly “juiced” up the subject in ways until now unknown to me.
So, what better aspect of American history to know than the men who have served in the White House(all but Washington, of course). So, a number of years ago, I began my quest to read at least one each president. That has proven to be a daunting task, as I have observed before. The tally right now is at 21, which is almost half of the total. Te problem lies in the dearth of books about the less familiar guys. You probably know them little if any. There is Harrison(William Henry and Benjamin) , Hayes, Taylor, Fillmore, etc. Libraries, at least our size, have either nothing about them or books dating of 50+ years old.
My mission continues ever so slowly and perhaps will one day be complete. I remain convinced that those who do not history are” doomed” to repeat it . And perhaps, just as telling, events and actions in the current administration have a historical precedent , sometimes deliberately.
I leave with this thought. President Obama’ s Oval Office desk is the same one used by Rutherford B Hayes. It is known as the Resolute desk and was a gift from Great Britain. The desk was constructed from the timbers of the British ship of the same name. To think that every president since Hayes ( except Johnson, Nixon and Ford) has used the desk is just a small example of the fascinating things we learn from our history.
Maybe you have no wish to read about all the presidents. Fine. I have a friend and fellow blogger who specializes in Washington and attempts to keep pace with new books that are still published. Maybe better than some of the “fancy fiction”, huh?
A question that can answered in so many ways. As most of us know, the commonwealth of Virginia holds the distinction of birthing more of our nation’s chief executives than any other state, a total of 8. Hawaii, as with a number of other states has had one. You know who that is, do you not?
My native state of North Carolina is generally credited with 2, Polk and Andrew Johnson. Sometime we get Jackson, but not always. Polk, the 11th president, was elected way back in 1844. As time stature seems to be on the upswing and he generally ranks close to the top 10 in rankings of our best presidents.
Polk has a singular distinction in that he is the only president to attend my “adopted alma mater” of the University of North Carolina, having graduated as a Tar Heel in 1818, less than 25 years after the school’s founding. That fact made me wonder. How may presidents have graduated from public universities versus Harvard, Yale and other Ivy League institutions? No aspersion meant on these schools. I was just wondering how the numbers looked. Harvard had 8 and Yale had 5 to lead the way. The sources I checked showed only 1 other president to attend a state university(Gerald Ford-Michigan).
Does this mean anything, probably not. But still, it has been a long time since Polk with only Ford to fill the gap. State universities, while they have high academic standards and produce excellent graduates, are by nature a different animal than the private schools, i.e. cost, for one thing.
It would just be nice to have another chief executive from say, UNC, or Kansas or some such school. Just to break up the private school monotony, if nothing else., ya think?
Still not sure if I answered the title question though.
Periodically but unpredictably there comes an opportunity for a sitting President to have an impact long after his term of office is over. All Presidents do not get this opportunity, some only get it once , other get multiple opportunities. And one tried to create his own opportunity( remember packing the Court?) to influence the future. Yep, we speak of nominating a person to the U S Supreme Court. Mr. Obama now has the chance, early in his term, to make his mark on history. Thanks to Justice David Souter, who is retiring of his own volition, the Court will have a new justice; perhaps by October.
The new justice will be #111 which was an interesting thing to learn, meaning there in considerable overlap on appointments. For example, there are currently 2 justices appointed by Reagan, Clinton, Bush 41, Bush 43 and one by Ford. When the new justice is seated, as a group they will have been nominated by 6 different presidents.
But enough trivia, on to the juicy stuff . Who will be the nominee? The guesses are flying as are the hints and suggestions, both specific and general. Senator Leahy, D, VT wants someone representative of America. There are not enough women or minorities for his preferences. Senator Shelby, R, AL says that even though Obama ( and Biden and Hilary) were against Justices Alito and Roberts, there will be no payback(yeah, right!)
So, a justice who looks like America. Can anyone satisfy the criteria sufficiently knowing they cannot meet all the stipulations. Leahy went on to say that he did not think Obama would select an ideologue while Senator Hatch, R , UT said the choice would likely be a pro-abortion liberal- very possible. Senator Spector(what party is he? ) PA also weighs in on the side of variety, seeming to favor a female Hispanic. He whose opinion will count the most says that he wants someone with a sharp, independent mind. Does that open up the possibilities? Yes, indeed.
Using that phrase as a qualifier, allow m eto toss out some names based primarily on that phrase. No endorsements intended. Feel free to suggest your own, either by comment or on your own.
- Rush Limbaugh
- Hilary Clinton
- Bill Clinton
- The Oprah
- Ann Coulter
- Michele Obama
- Skipper(the penguin)
- Sean Penn
- Jesse Jackson
- George Clooney
- Brad Pitt
- Hugo Chavez (oops, not a citizen)
- Rudy Guliani
- Barbra Streisand
- Saul Alinsky (oops, deceased)
- Sonia Sotomayor
Remember his real keys, identity politics and/or income redistribution. See also how much backbone the Republicans have.
- Bible study
- Christian living
- Foreign Policy
- International politics
- Legal system
- Life and Death
- Local Politics
- State Politics