Today is Presidents’ Day, a Federal Holiday, it is the combination of all the Presidents’ birthdays, though it is closest to Washington’s birthday (February 22nd). The intent was to make more three day weekend holidays, though there are some who think this does a great disservice to our Founding Father, George Washington.
One such person would be David Azerrad, who wrote about this very issue in the Daily Signal:
Poor George Washington. His birthday, spontaneously celebrated since the revolution and formally declared a holiday in 1879, has slowly morphed into the insipid Presidents Day you’ll hear about Monday.
Washington, the “indispensable man” of the revolution who was rightly extolled for being “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” has now been lumped together with the likes of James Buchanan, Jimmy Carter, Franklin Pierce and John Tyler.
It gets worse. Washington’s good name and great legacy are now shamelessly invoked to justify positions that he would never have envisaged.
In a Time Magazine special edition on Washington, historian Joseph Ellis matter-of-factly remarks: “He began the political tradition that produced a Union victory in the Civil War, the Federal Reserve Board, Social Security, Medicare and, more recently, Obamacare.”
Washington, who called on Americans to display “pious gratitude” for their Constitution and warned against any “change by usurpation,” is now a partisan of the sprawling welfare state and the unprecedented individual mandate.
Ellis even has the gall to hail Washington—the man who gracefully and voluntarily relinquished power after two terms when he could have stayed on for life—as the father of “strong executive leadership” and the precursor to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who stayed in office for an unprecedented 12 years. […] (Click here to read the rest.)
No kidding. To correlate George Washington to Obama, or Clinton, or Carter, or Roosevelt, or many of our former Presidents does our first President a disservice. He stands alone, and shoulders above, many of our Presidents, certainly many in recent years.
One other major point Azzerrad highlights was Washington’s commitment to religious liberty. I daresay our current President falls far, far short in that regard.
So yes, President Washington was a giant among men, one who deserves his very own day. Let the Feds pick another day to make their three day weekend to celebrate the rest of them.
Speaking of giants, we have lost a giant in the field of Jurisprudence, Antonin Scalia, the longest serving Justice on the Supreme Court. He was a staunch defender of the Constitution, as well he should have been in that position. What always boggles my mind is how someone could be a Supreme Court Justice and NOT a staunch defender of the Constitution,b ut apparently, that is an antiquated idea at this point, though it shouldn’t be. In my opinion, that is.
To honor this longest serving Justice, I would like to highlight, via The Federalist, some of Justice Scalia’s best statements, specifically on the aforementioned Obamacare:
From his dissent of the ObamaCare case:
1. “The Court’s next bit of interpretive jiggery-pokery involves other parts of the Act that purportedly presuppose the availability of tax credits on both federal and state Exchanges.”
2. “Words no longer have meaning if an Exchange that is not established by a State is ‘established by the State.’”
3. “We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.”
4. “Pure applesauce. Imagine that a university sends around a bulletin reminding every professor to take the ‘interests of graduate students’ into account when setting office hours, but that some professors teach only undergraduates. Would anybody reason that the bulletin implicitly presupposes that every professor has ‘graduate students,’ so that ‘graduate students’ must really mean ‘graduate or undergraduate students’? Surely not.”
5. “Context always matters. Let us not forget, however, why context matters: It is a tool for understanding the terms of the law, not an excuse for rewriting them.” […] (Click here to read the rest.)
Classic Scalia, and not for nothing, he was RIGHT on Obamacare. One thing is for sure, “contest always matters.” It seems we have forgotten that little precept.
On this Presidents’ Day, let us remember our founding father, George Washington, and some of the things he said, still relevant today. From Brainy Quotes:
To be prepared for war is one of the most effective means to preserving peace.
If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.
We should not look back unless it is to derive useful lessons from past errors, and for the purpose of profiting by dearly bought experience.
Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence.
The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.
Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness. […] (Click here to read the rest.)
They don’t make them like that any more, do they? What a brilliant man, a giant among men, and his dedication to the US Constitution was reflected int he Judicial giant we just lost, too.
On this day, as we listen to those who wish to take the seat once occupied by a man like George Washington, may we hold those candidates to a higher standard of discourse, character, and judgment. We deserve nothing less.
This is an Open Thread.