Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The fortold future

Image result for disastrous future cartoonStocks plunge to record lows. New mystery ailment kills hundreds of thousands. China and Islamic leaders unite. North Korea Bombs US. Roaming bands of violent youth clog American and European streets. American President removed from office due to emotional instability. Free Speech and the Constitution no longer in effect, to mention only a few of the terrible and unbelievable predictions from reliable and not so reliable sources.

No one really knows what the future will hold but the ability to read the signs of what might occur has been available for some time. There have always been a few who claim the ability to see a bit more clearly than the rest of us and in some circles there are those who actually have an ability to foresee the future. But the issues with future sight invariably comes down to the culmination of future events. Until those events come true they are simply predictions, dreams or unreadable words scribbled on some forgotten wall.

We have had books written by lauded authors that have done their homework, like Mega-Trends by John Nesbitt or The Demographic Cliff by Harry Dent, both were able to decipher some the trends that eventually were proven more right than wrong, on singular issues, but overall their abilities have yet to show continuity leading us back to the understanding that because of the fluidity of the future and the ever changing landscape of the present predicting events not yet realized is virtually impossible.

Will the stocks plunge to record lows, probably at some time in the future. Will humanity be faced with some mystery ailment, most likely. Will China and Islam unit or will North Korea start dropping bombs on the US, who knows, but there are indications of all the above, signs if you will of future events that if they occur will have devastating consequences on our future present days. We have already seen roaming bands of violent youth clog our streets and the streets of Europe, giving some credibility the future claim of such an event.

These events, these future events may seem impossible but are they improbable, is it just a matter of time? If we look to the past we can see events that support the events of the future. Stocks will plummet, it’s happened before and therefore it can happen again. In the past European humanity suffered a loss of nearly 1/2 of it’s population through some unexplained milady. The plagues, now treatable, infected large bands of people who were unaware of the issues they and others were facing. We have had scares of like scenarios, the AIDS scare, the Avian Flue, Ebola etc...and there are others waiting in the wings to decimate the population.

China and Islam partners? The politics of the world have seen less likely associations and in some regards this partnership has some merit, especially from the maniacal minds of the radical Muslim and the plodding, patient Chinese as they come together to rule over vast areas of geography. North Korea’s future is fairly easy to ascertain. They will either perfect their plans for nuclear delivery or they will not. They are a nuclear threat as is Iran and knowing that and understanding their angst angst the west will in all probability lead to some form of conflict. I don’t really think it matters who says what about when or even if they’re right now and again. What matters is what are we doing now to prepare ourselves for that unknown future.

My youngest daughter is a bright and talented young lady who has developed a level of self that to her mother and me is a bit on the self-indulgent side. You would think that after 10 children we would have learned how to deal with this particular emotional, intemperance. We should, you would think, be able to see the signs and predict certain behaviors based on past experience, you would think. But the more we try to ponder over these instances the more confused we get and the more flummoxed we get and the more critical the situation gets.

Our simple conclusion is that she needs to figure this out, on her own if need be in order for her to learn those very important life lessons that can never be foretold or predicted. Is there a risk of failure, a very real one exists in fact and it is that fact that scares us the most. What will her future be, what will her consequences be for the acts she takes, even if she is not fully aware of those consequence ?

Like those who currently roam the streets looking for avenues of violence, they are for the most part unaware of how their actions will negatively effect their future, nor how what they are not doing may have a profound effect on those unknown opportunities. For it is within this paradigm that most of our worlds problems exist. "Yea, and there shall be many which shall say: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die; and it shall be well with us." Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 28:7) Meaning that today is all we know, forget about tomorrow and who cares about yesterday.

We may not know the future but we can certainty prepare for it. We can be aware of the cause and effect relationship between our actions and the opportunities that follow, positively and negatively. We can chose to live our lives with magnificence and nobility knowing that by so acting we are invoking the blessing of positive self worth, God or the Great Spirit. Even if you’re an atheist you understand the power of service and good will toward others.

I truly believe we can effect the future in profound and meaningful ways, not only for ourselves but those we can influence. In order to do so we must first grapple with the destructive conflict between the selfish or selfless attitudes that prevail in our lives. Once we have conquered that battle within us we can turn our attentions toward other battles and causes.

“‘Remember, young man, example sheds a genial ray which men are apt to borrow. So first improve yourself today and then your friends tomorrow.’” Unknown

Friday, May 12, 2017

Come on Comey

Image result for comey firing cartoonThere are a few basic premises that some people may be willing to admit too, but only if the conditions are right and there are no conflicting opinions floating in the wind at the time. I think we can all agree that ice is generally colder than the blast furnace that is death valley during the summer. We can all agree that the worlds climates are changing, from what to whatever, but they are changing and as a result we need to change with it, (maybe that one is not so straight forward). Generally if you don’t give a plant enough water it will eventually develop some serious issues and may die, agreed? And I think I can definitively state that all humans need some air to breath in order to survive.

Fairly obvious, don’t you think? Truth to some is a very difficult concept but when viewed from more simplistic terms the truth of certain things is unassailable and easily shared and enjoyed by all, well almost all. The problem with complexity, as it seems to exist in abundance, is the variations that effect our view and thereby our conclusions in relation to the associated truths. When issues grow in complexity the availability for understanding is often severely limited, limiting our perspective of the truth in general.

Like the firing of James Comey, the FBI director. Most agreed at one time or another that he was not the right guy for the job. That fact was the truth. Democrats and Republicans agreed, that in itself was reason to rejoice, but again the reality of why they agreed and the motivation of agreeing was too much for either party, the disparity too much to handle and as a result the truth be damned.

Comey had to go, but now it’s so much more than what it was ever supposed to be. From that one simple and agreed to premise, the need to fire Comey has risen from the ashes a firestorm of controversy and deception with the simple truth being laid aside for more glorious outcomes and designs. I think Trump is playing the press against themselves, like some petulant childish instigator he is baiting them and prodding them to the point of irrational action. Is it Presidential for Trump to be acting in such a way? What difference does it make? To the Democrats he’s not the president so why would they expect presidential mannerisms?

The Republicans aren’t quite sure what to do so they seem to revert to the long standing pattern of accepting what the Democrats say and do (save face and all that), for fear of being excluded from the cool gang at school. The general public has two sides, those who hate Trump irrationally and those who like him, possible just as irrationally but are willing to give him a chance based on the years of abuse past politicians have heaped upon their hard working backs.

The truth? Comey had to be fired, that much we can agree on. But since truth seems to be a tool on both sides to achieve some unknown means to an end the basic understanding of agreement is no longer valid or recognized, replaced with a new set of glasses that obscures and obfuscates to such a degree that the once recognized truth is nothing more than a disliked fairy tale.

Politics as we all understand is the process of creating hyperbole and half truths to either cover up, invent or keep secret the basic truths that should be open and transparent to everyone who calls themselves an American….ooh wait, that doesn’t work any longer, not when citizenship is a sounding cry for all nations to partake of our freedoms without the risks or sacrifices associated.

Our Bill of Rights are not ours exclusively. Our Constitutional protections should be available to all who simply proclaim their need. We do after all live in a nation that upholds the rights of an opinion over those of any stated and accepted truth. We can be whatever we want to be, all we have to do is have a desire to become such and those wishes will be granted.

You wish to be a man, so be it. You desire to be a woman, no problem. You wish to be a trans-gender, multi lingual, pubescent, teenage girl,in an unchanged 50 year old male body, the locker room is all yours but ask for the truth, demand clarity or consistency and see where that gets you. As for Comey, he still got fired that that is the truth.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Being White

Death to a country comes in a variety of ways but the most profound and secure way to kill a country is allowing it to rot away from within. A little rot is expected and at times a severe and festering rot helps us to understand the need to solicit help toward change.

The death of America began long ago and perhaps from the inception of this once great nation. Like life itself perhaps, we are born and the perception of birth is that we are somehow perfect and unblemished from the world but the very moment of that birth we are infected and impossibly tainted with some virus that for the rest of our lives we are slowly and inexorably rotting away.

We have medical science that has improved and  extended our lives, but the inevitability of our existence will always be the same, a certain and final death. There are many who believe that culturally and societally we face the same and certain demise. Death to a country is inevitable, so we might as well just let it die, and for many it seems a willingness to push it along in its weakened state like some wide eyed tweaker seeking his aging grandmothers limited fortune by withholding her medication.

Free speech is no longer free. Self expression is a risky business, especially if you don’t agree with those who currently hold the metaphorical megaphone (a voice amplifying devise, for those who may not know). Disagreement, or even civil discourse is also discouraged unless for some strange reason you may want to spend hours swapping stories and anecdotes, complaining with like minded souls over the miseries and shared sufferings of having to deal with the oppressive white overlords .

And yes, I am white, I am happy with my life, my country and my existence, and no, I refrain from complaining too much, (my wife and kids may differ on that point) I try to do what’s right and to be completely honest, I dearly love my wife and kids (that last part is partly dependent on how much grief they cause to me and my wife, but for the most part we honestly do love all our kids).

Being white however does have some negativity attached to it, especially in this specific time of history where the term White Privilege has been banded about as a theory of extreme excuse of why those who are not white do not have the same privileges as those who were “unfortunately” born white. (trying to understand the logic of that)

While I still have some modicum of free speech left I plan to use it to dispel the notion of privileges from a racial perspective. As stated I am white. OMG, I’m willing to admit that? How insensitive, how unfeeling to admit something so egregious and inflammatory, especially at this critical time in our nations history. Have you no compassion for those who are non-white, who are oppressed and trodden down under the black boots of oppression and control? NO, I do not.

I am proud of my family, proud of their progress toward enlightenment and I would venture to say most white people share that sentiment. The difference is that we have sustained a level of privilege based on a work ethic that allowed America to flourish and continue to grow. Of course we have had our issues but name a race or people who have not been so infected? Name a race who has not been racist? Name a race who has not abused their brothers, or inculcated their own society with hyperbolistic notions of superiority?

Being white is not the issue. The issue is found within the hearts of those who want what has already been created without having to work for it. The desire to take without earning is perhaps the worst problem this world has to offer, hence the commandment of Thou Shall Not Covet. Being religious is also not the issue but understanding the meaning of the word covet is. The word covet means to crave for something beyond normal, to inordinately want something without regard for the rights of others.
Since when are others rights more important than ours or our rights more important than theirs?

The other aspect of coveting is in how those who cannot have what they want act when they do not get their way. We have seen how they act and the consequences to their actions. There is no regard to the rights of others when their voices are not obeyed. They riot, they destroy and they scream racism or bigotry where none exists.

Being white is no different than any other pigmentation. I am white and I obey the laws. Laws created by white people but laws that when obeyed can provide equality to all, opportunities for all who care to earn them. It provides safety and security but only if we all obey the same laws.

It is obvious that there is a growing anarchistic movement within the United States and within the world. Many who have no regard for the rights of others and are openly covetous, anarchistic and morally seditious, trying to enervate the vitality of our morality.

They are openly covetous of the freedoms we have created and offer to all. Shamefully, however, they act in accordance to their selfish desire to take what we have created, knowing that they themselves have no desire toward the sacrifice of achievement, willing only to destroy what they cannot bear to build and sustain.

This is not about being white, or black, it is about being honest, moral, loving and law abiding, god loving and family centered. This is not about politics or global warming or women's rights, this is about being true to yourself, knowing who you are and why you’re hear, understanding your purpose in life and striving to become the best you can be.

That is what this is all about.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Violence Justified

Image result for berkeley trump riot cartoonWhen I was 16, I got into a fight.  A friend of mine and I were putting gas in my car, it was around 8:00 in the evening when a couple of other 16 year old’s, past friends of mine, started to hassle my friend.  I stepped into the middle of the frey and when I was pushed, I pushed back, harder and with more purpose, the other guy fell down and moved away, ending the problem.

Three hours later I was jumped.  Three guys, one of them the past friend, had hidden in the bushes that lined are long driveway and jumped out, hitting me from behind.  The blow to my head was hardened and heavy, sending me reeling and wobbly.   The other two quickly joined in and started to thrash me with their fists.  

The odds were not in my favor and yet I remained standing and was able to move toward my house.  The porch light was on and with every step toward that light the blows to my body and head diminished.  The thought ran through my addled brain at the time “run toward the light”, so I ran.

When I got to the porch I looked back and the three assailants had gone, back into the darkness and the bushes, or back to their car and a quick getaway.  I was in no shape to track them down, I knew who they were, I knew where two of them lived and I also knew it would be my word against theirs, so I leaned against the old spanish stucco, letting my head drop, my adrenaline to subside and my emotions to resort back to normal.  

I don’t like to admit this but I liked the rush of adrenaline and I like the feeling of getting into fights, it was exhilarating and exciting. I did not like the headache that I was having and would be experiencing for some time, nor did I like the fact that I had been jumped and it took me several hours to get over the desire to get in my car and confront each and every one of those cowards.  Remember I was 16 years old, had been in Judo for three years and I was pretty much ignorant at understanding the cause and effect of one’s actions.

Just to end this tale, I did get some justice when the same, past friend, tried to steal a pair of moccasins from my PE locker.  He didn’t succeed and he found himself on the ground again, but this time there were witnesses.

I was reminded of those events when I watched a pro Trump Rally, without Trump, at Berkeley, the liberal university, yes the same Berkeley that rioted to stop the visit of Milo Yiannopoulos.  This rally was a bit more peaceful but mostly due to a large contingent of police.  But even with a police presence the anti Trump crowd over shouted the peaceful demonstrators for Trump, using foul language and racial slurs.  The promise of violence however, was the tipping point for the Trump supporters to disband and this brings me to the point of this Blog.

Violence is a behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.  The left is not afraid to use violence to further their cause; the right is more afraid of the consequences of using violence.  

When is violence appropriate?  For those with morals, I am not being judgemental here but the true difference between those who are easily provoked toward anger and violence are those with less morality, less distinction between right and wrong, having a less principled life and therefore more prone to violence.  These are the same individuals who favor anarchy and lawlessness and have attached themselves to this country's liberal political parties.

This division of belief causes a serious separation within the basic rights of all, with those who want law and order in direct conflict with those who want anarchy and incorrectly believe that freedom is defined as no rules and no laws.  How you define freedom will in essence place you on the scale of Anarchist or harmony, order and peace.  

In our educational system we promote a level of order and peace but do so without the reality of life as it’s foundation.  Life is not equal, fair nor filled with opportunity.  Life can be harsh and does not offer free services.  Life must be earned if you want to move beyond mere existence and into life.  The demonstrators across this country have failed to learn those basic life skills and our educational system has failed to assist in that learning, leaving millions of students unprepared, unwilling and incapable of acting rationally.  

This same group makes claims toward free speech but fail to understand the concepts of allowing all that same privilege.  What good is free speech if your speech is stopped by violence or rioting?  This same group demands equality but fails to understand that equality is a God given right within our constitution (yes we’ve had problems in our past) and have failed to comprehend that ...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This group is also the most entitled but the least deserving of all who came before.  Their demands on society, on their parents and on government is unprecedented.  For the first time in this countries history there are times when those who are unemployed outnumber those employed, depending on how those statistics are manipulated.  Currently there are approximately 120 millions working full time.  There are nearly 350 million people in the US. this means that for every worker there are 2.9 non workers.  

Of course we have children and dependents in that mix but the statistic is clear, we have less workers supporting more non workers than ever before.  Economics is a concern but within that excuse is the reality that our youth, that group, exists the lack of desire to push ahead, to be self motivating, be creative or in a more simple term are more lazy.  They want what they want and are willing to use violence to get it.

Violence should be a last resort and perhaps, should even be thought about when you think it’s a last resort. To use it to squelch free speech, just because you don’t like the speaker is 100% wrong.   B
Because of the way these children were raised, educated and coddled in life they truly believe they have the right to act as their acting.  Is it too late for them?  That’s hard to say but the solution to this growing problem is not more of the same.  They need rules, guidelines and structure, they need purpose and responsibility, they need to get a life worth living.  

They need to move toward the light, bath in it's motivation, it's enthusiasm and optimism, relish in the inspirational glow of its power. Maybe then and only then will they grow a backbone and develop a conscience and finely be willing to enter the life that they have been so blessed with. Or not ….

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Fascist Cognition

i want to be a man andor i want a man but cant have either so im gonna hate men psychology has a term for this cognitive dissonanceBill Nye, the Science Guy, was a pseudo hero of mine, especially when I was raising my kids and during the early years of teaching.  It was amazing to me how some nerdy guy could capture the attention by being odd and weird, but he did and for that I am grateful. 

He saved me hours of trying to figure out what to do and how to fill precious minutes with my school students and my own kids, so thank you, Bill Nye.

He’s not my hero now.  He has adopted the position similar to a religious zealot with his belief in science and his faith in global warming.  His position is clear and concise, you either believe like he does or you’re a denier, a heretic, a Global Warming Sinner.  

Science attempts to understand the natural and the physical world through observation and experimentation, a process that has no practical end unless you can prove, without question that all of your questions, future questions, past and present have been answered.  There will no longer be a debate because there is no reason to question what is now the truth.  

The position taken by Bill Nye is that Global Warming is a foregone conclusion and any further descent from the issue is akin to sacrilege or as he put it “cognitive dissonance” or in other words,  a conflict between cognitions or conflicting beliefs.  It should be mentioned here that this psychological issue does not claim to conflict with the truth but with belief.  I would also like to mention that the belief in science often has conflicting scenarios that cause scientist great concern, especially when their hypothesis has been threatened with extinction due to faulty, manufactured or just wrong information.  

When there is insufficient reward there is dissonance...there is a tendency to avoid information that would create cognitive dissonance because it is incompatible with their current beliefs. Inconsistencies between our beliefs and the facts that surround us create a cognitive discord. In order to balance that discord one of four things needs to occur:  

1.  Change one of the conflicting thoughts to restore your consistency.
2.  Change a behavior to restore balance.  
3.  Add new thoughts, justifications or excuses to reduce the cognitive dissonance or to more effectively rationalize the behaviors and or justify the decisions to maintain the dissonance.
4.  Trivialize the inconsistencies.

Peace within is the ultimate cure for cognitive dissonance.  Psychology suggests that the 4 points above are attempts toward restoring balance or peace.  When science encounters cognitive dissonance they simply change the parameters of their experiments or alter their theory but when the common man deals with conflicts of cognition they must come back into balance through one of the four prescribed methods.  There really isn’t that much difference between the common man and the sciences when it comes to creating a balanced view of our world but add a little Global Climate Change and all the rules are thrown out the window.  

Bill Nye is emphatic about the “settled science”.  Have you ever heard of a science that is settled? Mammograms was a settled science until they found that in a study of 90,000 women Mammograms did not affect the number of breast cancer incidents.  Settled to unsettled in just over 25 years.  If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing?  Settled or unsettling?  

Leeches were used universally years ago and are still used today for very specific cases.   But the settled science of bloodletting was considered a standard practice and was considered the order of the day, a day that lasted for over 2000 years.  If anything was considered settled one would have to include bloodletting.  That practice is almost completely abandoned now and has no place within our present day system of medicine.  Who knows what will change in the future.

Science that is settled is no longer science since science is the process of discovery through experimentation and observation.  Settled science is then an unmitigated fact with no need to experiment or observe for the purpose of discovery.  As it pertains to Global Climate change, settled science implies no need for argument or discussion, especially for those who don’t agree.  (A Pew study done in October of 2016 showed a stark contrast between what has been reported and what was recently observed.  Three-quarters of Americans have doubts about the effects of climate change due to human behavior.)

To me, that is not science but a form of fascism that would severely curtail the free speech of those who dissent from the governmental position.  The use of force to limit those voices is encouraged as is violence and abuse of those who disagree.  “Settled science” has taken up those fascist ideals and they claim they should be the only voices, the only solutions and theirs should be the only means to their ends, leaving the rest of the country to accept, willing or not.

There are numerous issues, not scientific in nature but controversial areas of belief that have galvanized this country.  Abortion, immigration, gun control, minimum wage, gender Identity, the death penalty and many others.  These issues are far from settled and still hold the country apart. Who is to say what is right or wrong? I would vote for myself to be the arbiter of what is right or wrong but that might cause even more issues than we already have.  

In order to solve these issues we need to solve the most basic problem of how we feel about each other, we need to love more, care more and serve more, then and only then can we be in a position to want to help those around us despite their political views, and only then will we be able to discuss those divisive topics without the overwhelming need to end the discussion with violence...You go first and I’ll see how you do...

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Parenting Faux Pas

Image result for petulant child cartoonAs a responsible parent, I am prepared to do what it takes to make sure my children can do what it takes to raise their children.  And then I look at my grandchildren and wonder where I went wrong.  My kids are not parenting like I did, some are not even close, making me wonder what I did wrong.

My first realization came when I learned that my ability to parent is contingent on my experiences, my perceptions and my personality, all now under review by my kids who are parenting.  In other words, they will have to learn for themselves how to parent and how not to parent, just like I did.

There are some common grounds that should be considered, to be considered a good parent, keeping in mind that a good parent is one who... GOOD PARENTING – A DEFINITION. Good parenting happens when a person creates for a child a stable, nurturing home environment, is a positive role model, and plays a positive and active part in a child's life. Good parents provide moral and spiritual guidance, set limits, and provide consequences for a child's behavior.

Having had 10 children I am either a master at parenting or a complete and utter fool for attempting to raise 10 totally different personalities, I tend to lean toward the "fool" part but I have learned a few things along the way.

  1. We do too much for our kids.  They need to learn to be self-sufficient and as we can see in our society today most of us have failed miserably in this regard.  We get them up in the morning, we make their breakfast, we do their homework or make excuses for why it’s not done.  We coddle them, support them and tie them up in knots so securely that they never have any room to really grow and develop.
  2. Treating them like friends.  If you want to be friends with your kids then perhaps you need to get out more among those of your age.  We can be friendly but I fail to see the need to be friends with our kids.  Being friends implies forsaking the parenting role and replacing it with something less structured, less educational and less loving, but go ahead be friends with your kids.
  3. Not demanding that they adhere to specific behaviors while in our home.  We must remember who’s home it is.  It is not their home, it is our home, even if we are only paying rent.  Our kids are not simply visiting but they need to understand that if they want to live there they have rules to live by.  You determine the rules and the consequences, not the kids.  

There are many more specific areas that could be mentioned but the three above seem to encapsulate the generalities of where our generation has failed our kids.  The issue with failing is the lack of foundational learning that has in the past ensured, to some extent, the furthering of those basic, foundational skills needed to promote from one generation to the next.

My perspective as a teacher and a parent is that those skills have been forgotten or set aside resulting in children and adults (all our children) who do not currently possess the ability to look beyond their self-interests.  Our children (not mine, yours, mine are perfect by the way, just in case you were wondering) are selfish, disconnected, entitled, lazy and worst of all liberal in their ideals and outlook.

In several polls, the trend of our youth is decidedly conservative at least it is when those youth start to grow and develop.  The trend toward political acceptance is almost always more liberal until our children start to have to live on their own.  When I say on their own I don’t mean their rent is subsidized by mom or dad, they hold a job, pay their bills and in essence start to act like an adult or in other words “responsible”.

Look at the last election, those who voted for the democrats were between 18-39.  A dramatic shift occurs at age 40 and virtually every age group above 40 voted for Donald Trump and a more conservative model of government.  The issues, however, are not primarily about age and responsibility.  When you view the news and the disquiet of our country you soon realize that a preponderance of those who are demonstrating are also within the 18-39 age group.

It is also not just those who demonstrate but in how they demonstrate and tolerate that sheds light on the need for good parenting.  Unlike any time in this countries history, those who demonstrate are not doing so simply to advertise their dislike, they are actively demonstrating to quiet the opposition and stop their ability to govern.  They are acting like petulant children who have not been given that candy that they could not reach on their own and are now screaming and kicking in the store to get their way.

Prior “good” parenting could have resulted in a better outcome.  Establishing patterns are essential and that includes helping your kids (remember my kids are perfect) understand the consequences and the benefits of life, that means you need to impose those consequences and provide the benefits as far as you can that is.  

The bottom line is, we have to decide what kind of adults we want to have when we’re done raising our children.  We can see the results of what we’ve done, so we all know that doesn’t work.  We may have committed our society to a downward spiral of social suicide with our only hope being that age will have the effect it has always had in creating positive and responsible adults.  But with the mistakes of liberalism and the associated idea of moral relativism, our children may never grow up.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents Day

Image result for presidents day cartoonsToday, this morning and this afternoon, and into the evening, is Presidents Day, or formally Washington’s Birthday.  The day was changed officially in 1971 by Richard Nixon and became Presidents Day in an attempt to create more three-day weekends corresponding with federal holidays.

I have mixed emotions about those changes.  In 1971 I was a sophomore in high school, not a particularly great student, I loved to ditch and go to the beach or mountains with friends.  The beach in Southern California during the winter months generally meant less crowds, more beach, choppy surf and most important it was a time to, just get away.  

The problem with the set holiday on the third Monday of February was that everyone else also had the same ideas of getting away as I did, and now had an extra day to do just that, get away.  The beaches were more crowded, the local ski resorts were packed and the amusement parks were inundated with families and friends just “getting away”.  

The other issues was in how this particular holiday seemed to minimize the previous holidays of President Washington and Lincoln.  Lincoln's Birthday used to be celebrated on his birthday, February 12th. Washington is officially recognized by the holiday we refer to as Presidents day, but there is no official Presidents day within in the United States.  February 20th is officially called “Washington’s Birthday”, It’s just not celebrated on his actual birthday February 22nd.  Lincoln's birthday has never really been an official Federal Holiday and was only celebrated at the state level with 1940 being the highest year for observance with over 20 states recognizing Lincoln's birthday.   

I love my three day weekends and as I teacher I am ecstatic about the prospect of not going into school during those Uniform Monday Holiday Act days, but it does bother me that we change the past by rewriting the present.  We change our important days into days we might enjoy but it looses its meaning.  

Especially in schools, where we have become very adept at speaking in a politically correct manner.  We changed Christmas to Winter Break.  Easter is now Spring Break with some schools changing the dates to accommodate some other criteria rather than the Christian holiday it used to represent.  

We never had a Lincoln's birthday federally, we did in California but now even that is gone.  We really don’t have a president’s day, that’s only it’s unofficial name.  Washington’s Birthday is still observed but only rarely does it correspond with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.  The effects of these changes have been negative, for the most part, and especially in relation to our memories of why we celebrate and to who we are celebrating.  

Youtube interviews show happy students having fun but totally unaware of what they were celebrating.  Is it because of the changes in status of these holidays or some other reason but the bottom line is, if we don’t remember why we celebrate, then there really is no reason to celebrate.