Monday, February 19, 2007

A Pint for George

You may be under the mistaken impression that it's "Presidents' Day." It is not. In 1885, Chester Arthur signed Washington's birthday into federal law--perhaps in the Dubya-like wish that he might also one day be so exalted. (Unlikely.) Later, commerce took over, and department stores implemented the more egalitarian "Presidents' Day," which has, without the imprimatur of law, supplanted Arthur's writ.

So let us put aside Abe (and Reagan and Harrison) and raise a pint to the humble general/brewer, who would have abhorred the honor of a federal holiday (too monarchist). How he would have felt to know that official recognition of his birthday had been supplanted by the dictates of commerce we can only guess about. Maybe not so bad--it's a triumph of the people, sort of.

Happy 275th, Mr. President.


Chuck Butcher said...

sadly, GeorgeII used today to invoke George W (ashington) and link him to Iraq. Ugh, puke

iggi said...

from wikipedia...why it sounds just like GW!:

His Proclamation of Neutrality of 1793 provided a basis for avoiding any involvement in foreign conflicts. He supported Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's plans to build a strong central government by funding the national debt, implementing an effective tax system, and creating a national bank. When rebels in Pennsylvania defied Federal authority, he rode at the head of the army to authoritatively quell the Whiskey Rebellion. Washington avoided the temptation of war and began a decade of peace with Britain via the Jay Treaty in 1795; he used his immense prestige to get it ratified over intense opposition from the Jeffersonians.