Commerce was never meant to be at odds with congress or even juxtaposed with it. But Presidents Day, it seems, like other special holidays has gone the way of all flesh. Even as a boy I remember questioning how the Birth of a Savior could be overtaken by the notion of a fat little benevolent man who comes bearing gifts. How did the celebration of a risen Savior get replaced with a candy egg bearing bunny? How are the hopes of a new year brought in by ending the old one in a drunken stupor? These questions don?t need to be answered as much as pondered. The answers are largely understood, knowing how to back out of our clearly cuckoo behavior is not.
Would George Washington be glad to know that we have found a way to honor his work in the founding of this country by making deals on an invention he could not have imagined in his own time? Perhaps he might be let down by the fact that Lincoln at least got a car named after him. But where is the new Dodge George Washington four wheel drive SUV?
Lincoln was known for many things but not one of them could be remotely connected to the sales of automobiles. How is it that automobiles got connected to him? Hasn?t anyone noticed that a fleet of Lincoln Continentals cannot compare even marginally to the great character and legacy that Lincoln left to us all?
Lincoln said ?Intelligence, patriotism Christianity and a firm reliance are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.? Was he remiss or did he forget to add the part about a good deal on a car?
It was said that Lincoln was more like a spirit than a man. He was the only president who not only was unafraid to use God in his speeches but he actually referred to Jesus Christ as well. He was well known for the many failures in his life. They all seemed to prepare him for the one great success which was even more than his presidency but the preservation of the union itself.
Well known was Lincoln?s ability to defuse a hot situation and bring peace and harmony where there was discord. His more down home quality may have been the ability to split logs to make rail fences and he was very good at that it is said. One lesser known talent was banjo picking and singing old folk ditties. Even these proclivities can?t be thought of as anything resembling barking for the sale of a people moving buggy.
In my grammar school days we were told the story of how Lincoln walked five miles back to the merchant who gave him too much change. He returned a penny. Judging from the pennies I see on supermarket floors and parking lots, I?d say people wouldn?t even bother to bend over to pick up a penny today. Some say this story may not be true at all. I say that if anyone might have done it that way it was probably Abraham Lincoln.
Being a good student is scoffed at in today?s schools. Trying to be kind is thought of as weakness in the land of extreme sports and blood fights. And renowned men of old whose character and deeds are legendary are insulted by our indifference.
Is the final insult to replace or supplant all repose to them in any fashion with the super sale of the latest stuff out of Detroit? By our indifference to the presidents both in practice and in the halls of academia perhaps we should heed the warnings of Lincoln who said ?The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.?