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Thoughts About Presidents’ Day.

We are about to celebrate another Presidents’ Day on the third Monday in February (the 16th this year). This occasion was originally celebrated in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington. It is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. While it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s actual day of birth, the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act. That Act was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for our nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

It has always been my understanding that the office of the President, no matter who sits in the oval office, deserves our respect. Therefore we need to be very careful about belittling the office through excessive partisan activity because in doing so, we lessen the authority that the office deserves.

The President of the United States is our leader, our chief executive, the person who the rest of the world looks to as representing all of us, the people of the United States. Of course some presidents are more successful than others, and plenty of information is available that rates our presidents. In our current political climate, however, I often wonder just how far partisanship can be displayed before it becomes demeaning to the office. I sometimes feel that our political system has become so infected with partisan rancor, that what is best for the country becomes less important than partisan gain. The phrase “the loyal opposition” is important to consider, in that it implies that a person from the opposition party is still loyal to their oath and to their nation. That loyalty, of course, encourages open and honest discourse about opposing ideas and issues, but always in a civil, informed, and courteous manner. I occasionally wonder if that is no longer the norm and anything is fair game when dealing with our current president and his family. Is it okay to lie about them? Is it okay to personally attack the wife of the President, or their children, or even the dog? What are the limitations these days to how we treat not only our President but all of our leaders?

I was always taught that it was proper to use the phrase, Mr. President or at least always say “President” and then the person’s last name. It just seems to be good manners and a matter of respect. President Obama is rarely given that courtesy. From the start, politicians and people and members of the media referred to him as Obama. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like any stranger to call me by my last name, without a Mr. or some other appropriate title in front of it. It is just rude.