Honoring George Washington’s Birthday, that’s the idea behind this federal holiday we have the third Monday in February. More that just Washington, it’s become a day to honor the current president, and all presidents that have preceded.
Well, I’m glad to have the day off work so I can hang with my family. Beyond that, I’ve got a mixed bag of thoughts otherwise around the idea of honoring all presidents that have lead our country.
As an institution and given our model of government, we need an executive to run the day-to-day operations of our government. Along with the legislative branch and judicial branch, and with the rule of law as our guiding principle, the president’s administration should lead the agenda as set by the majority, and hopefully beyond that, the will of the people in the whole electorate.
It doesn’t seem that our current president leads in this manner; but then that’s probably been said of others who’ve sat in that high office.
Our founding president was guided by fundamental values of decency and doing the right thing. As an example from his youth, consider “rules of civility” in circulation at the time that young Washington copies into his school notebook. Rule 1: “Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.” Rule 110, the last one: “Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Ce[les]tial fire Called Conscience.”
We’ve had the whole range of presidents in our country’s history; depending on your preferences and politics, your perspective on any of them, including the one currently in office, might differ.
In the end, and at this particularly divisive time in our national political discourse, it would be refreshing, and maybe healing too, if we could agree our president should lead by an ethos of the whole collective: drawing others together, inspiring, providing a voice for the vision of what is possible, and for the vast majority, and do so in an honest and forthright manner.
Happy Birthday, George, Happy Presidents Day.