Wednesday, February 10, 2016

"Here Let Us Stop" - George Washington, 1796.

Monday, February 15, 2016, is a federal holiday in the United States honoring Washington's Birthday. Government offices, banks, and some business will be closed in observance of the holiday which is annually celebrated on the third Monday in February. Because the date typical falls between the actually calendar date birthdays of presidents Washington and Lincoln, it is commonly called "Presidents Day," although the official designation is "Washington's Birthday."

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop." —George Washington’s Farewell Address, 1796
Poor George, both revered and kicked around by us. He was born February 11th but when he was 20 Britain and her colonies finally caught up with Catholic Europe by switching to the Gregorian Calendar, moving his birthday to the 22nd of the month. Then, starting in 1971, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 moved the official celebration of his birth to the third Monday in February. In popular parlance we slight our first President by neglecting the legal name of the holiday, WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY and refer to it as a generic "Presidents’ Day."

We likewise neglect Washington's sage warning against entangling foreign alliances. Even in our commercial relations our leaders, not content merely to trade with the rest of the world, have entered into binding agreements restricting our ability to control our own commerce, to encourage domestic manufacturing, or even to protect our citizens from unsafe products. Our legal obligations to the World Trade Organization and our bilateral and multilateral trade agreements entangle us in a network of supra-national laws that can, effectively, overturn the actions of our elected Congress and President.

No comments:

Post a Comment