The sun has slowly set upon one of Hallmark's most profitable holidays. President's Day week has now arrived. There are no expectations laid on us for this celebration... we can be seen in public without a partner and not an eyebrow will be raised.
Obama can take comfort in knowing that he's not the first occupant of the Executive Mansion whose legacy was written off prematurely. Abraham Lincoln, for one, had little cause to celebrate his birthday one hundred and fifty years ago.
Two score and nine years after Abraham Lincoln had won the Civil War, preserved the Union, abolished slavery, and was assassinated, the nation embarked on the construction of a memorial to honor his legacy.
Naming public buildings, roads, bridges and the like is probably more complicated and controversial than it ought to be. No matter what, politics and power play a role. And such is certainly the case with the two new bridges now under construction here in Louisville.
There will be children reciting famous lines from "I Have A Dream," high school students writing about George Washington Carver and his peanuts and probably some game shows questions on African-American inventors. If this is all that happens, then the month has been for naught.
Not only are the one hundred letters he chose to reproduce in the book great to look at, they are great to read, allowing experiences that are in turn transformative, moving, and inspirational (or chilling, in a few cases).
To begin to tell a new story about who we are and how we respond to such tragedy, we have to all be willing to see that there are nuances, contrasts and multiple perspectives on every subject. This won't happen overnight.
Making students stand up and say the pledge each morning is not a jingoistic act of American imperialism or a violation of a student's rights, as some would argue. It's simply a statement of patriotism.
If, this week, you get tired of those yapping political idiots who happen to share your familial bloodline, please remember that arguing about politics isn't some sort of distraction from the holiday, but it has been part of the holiday since our country was born.
Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy shared more than just being leaders during critical times and the misfortune of lives cut short. They shared a power of will to drive the nation, sometimes single-handedly, toward a destination that few but they realized was attainable.