Historic Mount Vernon’s Facebook Page broke the news today that Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, has signed an official proclamation that in Wisconsin, February 22 is “George Washington Day”. That reminds me as well that my representative in Congress, Frank Wolf, is spending my tax dollars and I guess my time trying to get George Washington’s birthday made a Federal holiday again — no more of this generic “President’s Day” crap. Admittedly, the first two federal holidays in the country was July 4 and Washington’s birthday, but times have changed. We found a second awesome President with a February birthday (Lincoln). President’s way is a way to acknowledge both Presidents.
I find it weird that Walker and Wolf, two folks who are into small government, are trying to get us to celebrate a friggin’ Federalist. First President who won the Revolutionary War or not, he did not agree with their politics. The Founding Fathers were men, not symbols. That’s what makes them so interesting, so fascinating. The Constitution was not handed down to us from on high, but reached over several months of compromise. The Declaration was primarily written by Thomas Jefferson, but it was still written in committee. I find myself insulted by this movement to honor George Washington as a way to demonstrate patriotism, just as much as I’m concerned about Texas’ attempts to downplay Jefferson’s role in history. History is like science.
Anyway, if we’re going to mess with President’s Day, why would we stick with just honoring Washington and Lincoln? What other days could we choose? To that end, I made a list of every single birthday of every single President.
I ended up having to draw my own scatterplot graph of the information, which was easier to mine for data. Some interesting factoids:
-More Presidents were born in October than any other month (Jimmy Carter, Rutherford B. Hayes, Chester A. Arthur, Dwight David Eisenhower, Teddy Roosevelt, and John Adams)
-More Presidents were born on the 29th of every month than any other day (Andrew Johnson, John F. Kennedy, John Tyler, William McKinley)
-The only day on which there have been two Presidents born is November 2nd (James K. Polk, 1795, and Warren G. Harding, 1865)
-Calvin Coolidge has the most Patriotic birthday, July 4, 1872 (I wonder if he used that to his advantage?)
-The average age at the time of their inauguration was 55 years.
-Grover Cleveland was only 48 at the time of his first election — the first President under 50. No wonder he came back four years later, he had time!
-We’ve had 6 Jameses, 3 Georges, and 4 Johns.
If we’re going to start picking arbitrary Presidents Days, I would go with either November 2 or October 29. And if your name is James, your birthday is November 2 or October 29, and you’re 54, you should probably start running for President.
Following the 2008 election, renditions of the song were updated to “W’s reign of terror’s finally over; Obama is pretty excellent so far”