QUEENS, NEW YORK - Some food for thought on this Presidents' Day 2008.
The federal holiday, and resulting 3-day weekend on the third February of each calendar year, is officially listed by the Government as Washington's Birthday. In 1971, the holiday was shifted to honor both President Lincoln (who was born on February 12th) and President Washington (who was born on February 22nd). By-and-large it is commonly referred to as Presidents' Day by the millions of bargain hunters that swarm the checkout lines. Be it car dealerships, electronic stores, malls or clothing shops there are discounts to be had from the nation's retailers.
Before the 1980's, the holiday was treated much like Memorial Day or Christmas and everything from restaurants to retailers are likely to be closed. Today, the advertisers win out. More and more businesses stay open each year. Despite the USPS being closed, UPS, FEDEX and DHL offer mailing options despite the National Holiday designation.
With hardening economic uncertainty, only time will tell if retailers are going to experience more consumer spending this year. Having saved-up their money and restrained their materialism until tomorrow, my guess is that most people will continue to buy the newest and hottest items. As an election reformer/citizen journalist, I hope people put as much planning into exercising their democratic franchise as they do spending money. Money, that at the end of the year, they wished was back in their bank accounts.
If we can move Presidents' Day for the convenience of shoppers, why not make Election Day more convenient for voters?
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