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February 17, 2014

To all the presidents Iíve loved before

Steven R. Berryman

The name President’s Day itself is an amalgamation, if not an abomination, of what was at one time George Washington’s Birthday, plus that of Lincoln’s. Some politically correct federal holiday-name-maker adjusted the name to fit the needs of bureaucratic three-day weekends, school calendars, and retailers alike.


I do have multi-presidential “likes” that span time and party, though, for those truly wanting to respect the spirit of the day.


To wit:


Homage is due specifically to George Washington, for many reasons. He refused a virtual throne once offered to him by Congress as a prize for wrapping up the Brits (who later “won the peace” by giving us Piers Morgan) in the Revolutionary War.


President Washington did not free his slaves, but did run a great white whiskey distillation business and freed a cherry tree.


Well, lore has gotten out of hand; skipping the rock across the Potomac, and all that rot.


President Washington did, however, warn fledgling America about the dangers of a “two-party system” in government. He also stated that all proposed laws should be able to fit on a single page, this presumably to distill an understandable essence, and avoid confusion.


So, we named a (dysfunctional) city after him.


On President’s Day 2014 we now celebrate consumerism, and demonstrably do not celebrate party; we write thousand page laws that are passed in order to find out what is in them. The two main parties exist and conduct themselves chiefly as self-serving, self-protecting engines of selfishness against the obvious will of the people in many an instance.


Thomas Jefferson, of course, invented the $20 bill, and thus became one of the most popular Founding Fathers.


Abraham Lincoln did free the slaves, after much bloodshed. A line of automobiles was thus named for his greatness, and now, we have the penny as currency. You remember the one-cent Lincoln penny? We used to pick them up for luck when found on the ground, now we don’t even bother bending over. Your government pays more than one cent to manufacture each red Lincoln penny now. Really!!!


Teddy Roosevelt adventured around the globe, and led the Rough Riders on horseback, once gave a speech after being shot in the chest, and is responsible for the “Teddy Bear.” Bully!!! Bully for you!!!


Now, the buck stops where?


Franklin Roosevelt, along with the late Shirley Temple, took us through the Great Depression and kept hope alive for the entire nation. He gave us the “Alphabet Soup” bureaucracies that used make-work jobs to keep the people moving. Today, we pay people incentives to not work, like paying farmers to keep fields fallow. Some progress!


At least the farmers were allowing nitrogen back into the soil; entitlement simply breeds more entitlement traps.


John F. Kennedy was a visionary and a real leader, beginning the space race, which was really a tool in winning the Cold War. He did challenge us, and saved us from nuclear annihilation. For that, the compliant press forgave him his personal transgressions, thus assuring themselves a passive power.


Lyndon Baines Johnson continued to ride the Space Program, NASA, and gave us the “Great Society” programs. To this day, you are paying for them, and we drop money into the poverty trap each day as a direct result. LBJ was a big man.


Ronald Reagan’s image may yet be carved into Mount Rushmore. This was a highly unpredictable scenario to anyone ever seeing the movie “Bedtime for Bonzo.” The Gipper led the nation back to pride, won the Cold War in part with the financial threat of a “peace shield” missile defense, and was also shot. He had the presence of mind to say in the hospital “guess I forgot to duck.”


George H. W. Bush (Bush 41) got the national espionage apparatus on the map. George W. Bush (Bush 43) gave the media a field day.


In 2014 we celebrate President’s Day with the man who promised to be every American's president; the man who promised the most “transparent administration of all time;” promised to save you all kinds of grief and money by fixing healthcare; to level the playing field financially for all Americans.


The Justice Department gives guns to Mexican drug lords. The border is not respected, nor is patriotism. The Internal revenue Service has been degraded into a threatening political tool. Foreign policy includes Benghazi cover-up, and handing a nuclear license to the world’s most prolific sponsor of terrorism, Iran. All of this while our military is allowed to wither, and Communist China and Russia are allowed to rebuild.


And we spy – for national security reasons – mostly on ourselves. Do not be deceived.


Happy President’s Day America. Have fun shopping!


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