Today (Feb. 22) is George Washington's birthday, the 276th anniversary of his birth, and a major holiday in my house. It's also the day when I usually get furious at the way it is largely ignored by media.
Why should they get excited about it? Isn't that what we have Presidents' Day for?
Now that's what really makes my blood boil. What the hell is so-called Presidents' Day anyway?
What slap in the face it is to Abraham Lincoln, as well as George Washington, to have their birthdays lumped together under the catchall category "presidents."
Does this mean we were celebrating Richard Nixon's last Monday?
Not that -- in the words of that great American scholar, Jerry Seinfeld -- there is anything wrong with that. He also did great things for his country. He opened the door to China, without which all of our big screen TV sets wouldn't be possible. Thanks to Nixon, we can now see Hillary and Obama making faces at each other in high def.
Does this mean we are celebrating Millard Fillmore and George Bush (both father and son) at the same time?
Or are we celebrating the day Monica Lewinsky first visited the Oval Office and showed the thong? That certainly made one president's day.
Why are we making such a bouillabaisse throwing all the presidents into one pot? What's the hurry?
Now I know I'm probably the only person in the media concerned about what I consider a national disgrace, an outrage, a demeaning of the presidency.
If it was up to some of the younger citizens I know they'd be celebrating the birthdays of such ancient historical figures as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan or the natal days of Britney's kids.
There is already a shocking decline in historical knowledge in the nation today. Early American history to many in the Don't Hassle Me generation is Elvis Presley. In a recent test at a major state university, a majority of students didn't know which president was in a wheel chair. Soon they'll be asked which one was the dude in the beard and top hat, and scratch their heads.
(Just for the record, the answer to question one is FDR, and number two is Rutherford B. Hayes. Also Grant, Garfield, Harrison, and, of course, Lincoln).
Lumping all the presidents together on this so-called "Presidents' Day" sends the learning curve further south.
To many of our newer voters, Washington is a sale. The smarter ones also know it is a bridge.
When I was growing up ye olde original Washington's birthday also was a time when our forefathers and mothers could get good deals on sheets and pillowcases. It also was a chance to visit national shrines, the department stores that made America great even before the invention of malls.
But it also was a time to reflect on the glories of what Washington, our first president, meant to his country. On Lincoln's birthday, at least in the north, we could think about the enormity of what he had done in ending slavery and saving the Union.
And, while I'm venting here, I think the other 39 presidents also deserve individual birthday celebrations. Each was important in making what we are as a nation today. How often, for example, do we stop and think on Oct.30 about what John Adams did for his country? Do we celebrate, or even know, Martin van Burean's birthday (Dec. 5) or even Franklin Pierce's (Nov. 23). What was he -- chopped liver?
If it were up to me as a conservative, instead of trying to get a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages, I would call for an amendment requiring all presidents' birthdays be national holidays. And not only that, each should have his own three- day weekend.
Three-day weekends! A chance to go to the store and pick out that new wall-size plasma HD job. That's what this society is all about today. So what if they all come from China. Where would the Chinese economy be if we weren't spending our economic stimulus check buying their goods?
But, also, let's remember what the weekends are for. Who remembers the significance of Labor Day and Samuel Gompers? Who remembers Memorial Day once honored the Civil War dead? Flag Day? Arbor Day? Doris Day?
It's disgusting. Why we don't even have football games on so-called Presidents' Day, what usually tells the people an event is culturally significant, like Thanksgiving.
In all honesty, I don't think this slighting of his birthday today would have mattered to George Washington. While it is true he was born on Feb.22, 1732, as a matter of fact in his mind his actual birthday was on Feb. 11. The calendar changed in 1752, going from the Julian to the Gregorian, or vice versa. Pope Gregory caused a lot of confusion when he mandated people finally adapt to the fact there are actually 365¼ days in a year.
With the invention of Presidents' Day on the third Monday of February, the George Washington I know would have celebrated all three of them. The man loved to party. He was what they called in colonial times a party animal.
As evidence of that, true patriots might want to check out George Washington's Expense Account, co-written by Gen. George Washington and Marvin Kitman, PFC (Ret.), or the definitive biography The Making of the Prefident 1789.
Happy 276th Birthday, George.