by Pilliard Dickle
How did you spend President’s Day? Catching some rays? Hitting the links? Snarfing down a hot dog?
Or maybe you celebrated like most Americans: pushing and tugging on the front door of the bank or the post office, wondering why it’s locked.
When I went to the post office today to mail some calendars, I noticed other naive citizens wandering
up, mail-in-hand, only to discover that it was closed. They all were visibly irritated. So I decided to conduct a poll.
I asked everyone who tried to get in the post office this question: “Are you in favor President’s Day as a paid government holiday? And before you answer, consider this.
You don’t get the day off. No beach.
No golf. No hot dogs. Just another work day. Except you can’t get in the post office. Plus, the cost of closing government offices for one day, nationwide, is almost one billion dollars.”
(I never said this was an impartial poll?)
I was going to ask 100 people, but only three people walked up.
The results were surprising. Despite my best efforts to slant this poll, a full 33% of respondents thought the way we celebrate President’s Day as a nation is a great thing. Then I found out that guy was a government employee.
There are two kinds of holidays: real and contrived. The real ones are born of tradition. You celebrate
by decorating trees, watching parades, dressing your kids up like witches. And they have festive sounds.
Sleigh bells, fireworks, children’s voices saying “trick or treat!”.
The contrived holidays, on the other hand, descend upon you top-down, from capitol hill. You celebrate by spending a mundane workday cut off from basic services. And their festive sounds are the rattling of locked bank doors and the grumbling of irritated citizens trying to get in the post office.
We are honoring the noble men, women and events that these holidays are supposed to commemorate by annoying those who need to make a deposit or mail a letter.
If a national referendum were held on the issue tomorrow, President’s Day as a mandatory paid government holiday would probably loose by a landslide. Yet you must observe it. Or at least you must observe the “closed” sign at the post office.
Presidents Washington and Lincoln deserve better. Wouldn’t these two champions of our democracy roll over in their graves if they knew that the observance of their birthdays is being forced upon the populace, without consent, by the very government they created?