gather 'round; I'm here to give you everything you want, I'm the
(Sung to the tune
of Sammy Davis Jr.'s "The Candy Man"
"Who can take your
money, with a twinkle in their eye; take it all away and give it
to some other guy? The government, the government can.
"Who can give us
bailouts, tell us to behave; make the Founding Fathers roll
over in their grave, the government can ...
"They mix it up
with lies and make it all taste good."
Hawkins on YouTube parody sent to me Monday.
So, as President Washington rolls over in his grave, we celebrate
Presidents Day, week, and month. Washington's birthday is on Feb.
22; Lincoln's on Feb. 12. No matter, this past Monday, Feb. 20, we
took a day off from our education or productive work to go shopping
for cars, etc., presumably in their honor.
Now that we have a
black president, can we toss him into the Presidents Day mix and
forget about Black History Month? Isn't it all the same American
For Christmas, my
grand-twins gave me an excellent book they were assigned for their
Advanced Reading class.
"Chains," by Laurie Halse Anderson, is the story of a little
girl living in New York City in 1776, witnessing the American
Revolution from the vantage point of a child slave.
At first I didn't like
the concept, thinking: Can't we teach the children about George
Washington and the cherry tree, Paul Revere's ride, and Patrick
Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech, before we tell
them about the slaves held by freedom-loving patriots?
But bottom line, the
book spoke truth, and there's nothing wrong with the truth at any
point in the educational experience. Just to ensure balance, I sent
them the 1943 children's novel "Johnny
Tremain," with a 4-foot sock monkey ($20 at Walgreens!) and a
note asking them to read it to him. There will be a quiz.
In the past when I've
wondered, "When did it all start to go wrong for America?", I'd
think it might have been when we moved the celebration of
Washington's birthday from its actual date and lumped all presidents
— the Father of Our Country, the Great Society's Lyndon Johnson,
William Henry Harrison, etc. — together to make for a long weekend.
But I've since learned that in the beginning, the designation was
often simply meant to include President Lincoln, not every
The federal government
still, officially, calls it Washington's Birthday, as does
Massachusetts, which honors all our local presidents — John Adams,
John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge and John F. Kennedy — with a
proclamation on May 29.
Washington was born in Virginia on Feb. 11, 1731, according to the
Julian calendar in use at the time. In 1752, however, Britain
adopted the Gregorian calendar, which placed his birth as Feb. 22,
The real problem is the
"Uniform Holiday Act" that was implemented in 1971, which led to
annual fun weekends in place of actually sitting in school learning
about the Father of Our Country, Columbus reaching the Americas
(notice I didn't say "discovering America"), the battles of
Lexington and Concord, and eventually Martin Luther King. At least
we've kept July Fourth for Independence Day; Nov. 11 for Veterans
Day (whose date made more sense when it was called Armistice Day,
marking the official end of World War I at 11 a.m. on the eleventh
day of the eleventh month in 1918; and Thanksgiving Thursday, which
isn't associated with any particular date.
Some modern patriots
are annoyed when Independence Day is referred to as "the Fourth of
July," but they had better stop complaining lest it be moved to
Monday somewhere around that date.
Yes, those Founding
Fathers, including George Washington, probably are rolling over in
their graves a lot, and I still think this has something to do with
the realization that Americans are more interested in three-day
holiday weekends and shopping for cars than commemorating American
I couldn't find an
American History Month. Did you know that March is Women's History
Month, May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, September is
Hispanic Heritage Month, and November, oddly, is Native American
Heritage Month? The Irish, men and women, get one day in March. But
we Croation-German-Irish Americans don't get any holiday.
I want a month for
Taxpayer Appreciation. April would be good.
But mostly, I imagine
the Founders roll because so many of the principles they set forth
are regularly being violated by the Government Man. They wouldn't
smile at the latest Census figures showing 48.6 percent of us are
getting special benefits from the Government Man.
Boston Tea Party leader
Christen Varley sent me this as a Washington's Birthday greeting:
parties) may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in
the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which
cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert
the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of
government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted
them to unjust dominion." That's from George Washington's Sept. 17,
1796, Farewell Address.
My response: Say