THANK GOD, IT’S GROVER CLEVELAND’S BIRTHDAY
I want to thank all you public-spirited citizens who rallied to the cause of reviving Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday, before it goes the way of the late Lincoln’s Birthday.
The announcement last week of the launch of your non-profit eleemosynary institution, the Justaminutemen (pat.pending), dedicated to reviving interest in American history, raised some unanswered questions:
Are there dues? Are their ceremonies? Will we ride horses? How about uniforms and loyalty oaths, asked Bayonne Eddy of Hoboken?
The answers are no, no, definite maybe, no, talk to my lawyers.
There is no intention of growing the organization into a quasi-military group, whose members wear some kind of colored shirt. Mauve and puce are still open. That could lead to fascism.
There are those who question the group’s name, accusing us of being chauvinist. “I respectfully suggest you seriously consider the name of the organization be “Justaminutepersons,” writes ESGinsberg Esq. of Jamaica Estates. “This takes into consideration the politically correct neutralization of gender words.”
I resent the implied historically incorrect implication, ignoring the fact that in the 1960’s I was the one who picketed the League of Women Voters and the Daughters of the American Revolution for its exclusionary practices. (You can look it up)
Even worse, a schism has developed on one of the organization’s primary goals: the extension of the nation’s most sacred holiday, the three-day weekend.
Forget the three-day weekend, argues a person writing under the pseudonym “Haig Chekanian” “Why don’t we just follow the lead of the Congress and have four-day weekends every week of the year!!”
Everybody’s a critic.
All of this is food for thought –and indigestion. But let’s get down to business: improving the state of the calendar for history-challenged Americans.
For instance, how many people are planning to go away or otherwise celebrate Grover Cleveland’s birthday (March 18) with a three-day weekend?
Not only was his family name used in the naming of a city in Ohio, but Grover Cleveland was the only president to be elected twice, not in succession. The 22nd and 24th president (1885-89 and 1893-97), a Democrat, was the man who relentlessly fought political corruption, patronage and bossism, the legacy of Republican administrations since Ulysses (Credit Mobilier) Grant. The man who was a fiscal conservative, the leader of a group known as the pro-business Bourbon Democrats, the spiritual father of today’s Blue Dog Democrats, whose dedication to reform and austerity may have led to the Panic of 1893. The man who was the only president accused of having an illegitimate child, a charge that he didn’t deny. He courageously took the blame because he was the only bachelor in his crowd that had their way with the lady.
True patriots can show their loyalty to our heritage by choosing to stay home from school or work the weekend of March 16-18, raising a brewski or six to Stephen Grover Cleveland while celebrating that other event (St. Patrick’s Day).
There is no shortage of institutions or individuals who deserve recognition beyond the presidents. Calendar revisionists might consider the so-called Labor Day Weekend. An AFL idea (circa 1903), it honors who --Jimmy Hoffa, John L. Lewis, Harry Bridges, the pie-in- the- sky guy, Joe Hill or the other IWW Wobblies?
A good place to start would be a three-day weekend honoring capital. I would gladly take time off for a National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Day. And let’s not forget the captains of industry such as Andrew Carnegie ( born: Nov. 25)
Carnegie was beloved by stockholders for lowering his steelworkers’ hourly wage from 15 cents to 12 cents, an issue in the Homestead Strike of 1892. Less appreciated is his creation of U.S. Steel, which saved the forests by making steel cheap enough to build skyscrapers. Let’s have it for the old tree-hugger.
Another unsung ecological hero was John D. Rockefeller (July 8). Demonized for his Standard Oil Trust, it lowered the cost of kerosene, eliminating the use of whale oil to keep the country illuminated, thus making him a founding father of the Save the Whales movement.
Your Justaminutemen organization is proposing a bipartisan Congressional Commission to Study the problem with an eye towards calendar revision on their next four-day weekend.
To speed the process along your Justaminutemen‘s first project is producing a patriotic calendar showing all the important dates, honoring long forgotten American heroes and moments in history, and Kitty Greene could be the calendar girl.
Nominations are now open.
Have a happy Grover Cleveland Birthday Weekend.