Friday, February 14, 2003

Day Off

Today my office, and the community college district we harrass, are closed in observance of Abraham Lincoln's birthday (which was Wednesday, for those who don't remember). Here are some terribly interesting and educational links about The Great Emancipator (incidentally my Grandmother's favorite president, beating out FDR by a hair's-breadth, mostly because Grandmother visited his house in Springfield, Illinois, and now feels personally acquainted with him). I also get Monday off, in celebration of President's Day. It seems a shame to lump all the Presidents together, to give up Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday and seemingly put their achievements on the same level as Chester A. Arthur and Benjamin Harrison. But then, we can't just keep having National Holidays all over the place (the Lincoln's Birthday holiday is not a National Holiday, it's just our District... we also take Malcom X's birthday), so it's more fair to lump them together rather than choose one or two great presidents over all the other great presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Thomas Jefferson and so on.

I wonder sometimes what it must have been like to live in a time when great men were President of this country. In my lifetime we've had Lyndon Johnson (who?), Nixon (sneaktheif), Ford (klutz), Carter (peanut farmer), Reagan (bad actor and adjunct of the scariest dragon-lady of the 20th Century), Bush (whiney little bastard), Clinton (sleazy lying fuck), and another Bush (beady-eyed bellicose little shit). A sorry assortment, if you ask me. Not a hero in the bunch, with Carter and Ford carrying the uninspiring banner of simply not being totally reprehensible.

But then that's the great thing about our Government... you can put the wolves in charge of the flock, and we still somehow manage to muddle along and have a pretty good time. The country's going to hell in a handbasket, but it's a very comfortable handbasket and the inflight entertainment can't be beat. I just wish our current Asshole in Chief were more entertaining, like his predecessor. Bush jokes are simply not very funny. He's not very funny, if you come down to it. Like a practical joke in such bad taste that one is actually rather depressed and disturbed that somebody thought of it.

What I find disturbs me most is how badly people want to believe in the President. There are people who want so badly to believe in Bush that they simply do not look at the facts, they only hear what they want to hear, they only see that which aligns with their desire to believe. There were those who wanted so badly to believe in Clinton that they simply chuckled and tut-tutted at every piece of evidence that he was shady and crooked, and then came all over surprised when Congress had the temerity to prove it. People will make the most incredible mistakes in judgement when they want to believe in anything, just so they can believe in something.

Perhaps that is the danger of great presidents... people like my Grandmother who remember life under Roosevelt, and my parents' generation who remember life under Kennedy, the days when Presidents were larger than life, charismatic, shrewd and imaginitive, men with faults and weaknesses certainly, but who were nevertheless great leaders... it is these people who have idolized Bush without any reason to so do.

They just want so badly to believe in the President, and along comes this imbecile who fortunately comes from a political family and hasn't got any particularly loud skeletons in his closet, and the country goes apeshit for him... not because he is a great man, not because he inspires confidence or is capable of great things, but simply because he happened to be President when the nation entered a time of extreme emotional crisis and we need somebody to believe in.

It strikes me as terribly dangerous to idolize people like that, to take a political personality (or an actor or an athlete or a singer, for that matter) and put them up on a pedestal. Nobody can live up to that kind of hero-worship, and so you either set yourself up for a disappointment when the idol turns out to have feet of clay, or you end up being endlessly deceived when the idol's feet of clay are never brought out into the public notice.

It is laudable and good to honor people for their achievements, to set aside a day to reflect upon the great things that they did... but to expect a standard of godlike behavior from a human being is folly. I'm sure if we looked long and hard enough, we would find that Abraham Lincoln kicked puppies or that Roosevelt masturbated over books of Greek statuary or some other terribly human behavior. But they were President during extremely dramatic periods of history and they acquitted their tasks very well. Much like George Washington, and Roosevelt and Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. None of them were without fault, but they all did the right thing at the right time and made the world a better place before they left it.

Perhaps that's all we can really ask of anyone... to do one's best, to acquit one's tasks well, and to leave the world a better place. Now if only we could begin to agree on what constitutes a better world...

Well, either way, I'm glad to have the day off — although it's starting to look like more work is coming my way here at home than would have come at the office. I had planned to take this day to get some rest and then maybe tidy my room a little bit, perhaps get my clothes put away and get things off the floor long enough to push a vacuum around. But in typical fashion, as soon as my day becomes free my family starts filling it up for me. Grandmother wants to go to the mall to buy birthday presents for my aunt and cousins; then tomorrow we are going down to San Jose to celebrate said birthdays (my aunt Terry and her daughter Kellie and both of Kellie's children have birthdays in January and February, so they're consolidating parties), and then rushing back home as soon as possible so I can get into drag and go to a Galaxy photo-shoot and party. On Sunday I have Musical rehearsals, but that's the only event on that day so I might be able to get some stuff done here... and then with Monday free I hope I can get the rest of the house put together.

In the meantime, I've gotten quite close to the end of my Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets game, having entered the passages to the Chamber itself. I was a little disappointed to get there so soon. I'm trying to decide if I want to start the game over again, so that I can do the challenges better (I missed a lot of secret rooms and possible points), before tackling the Chamber, or else just go ahead and try out the Chamber so I'll be better prepared when I play the game a second time. We shall see.

So I guess I'd better be off. I want to get to and from the Mall before too late, I would hate to get stuck there with a lot of terrified men just getting off work but not daring to go home without a gift. The lines outside See's will probably be epic, and it's situated at a particularly narrow portion of the concourse, and then there will be great oceans of people clamoring around the jewelry and perfume counters of the department stores, which are always right next to the entrances so that a crowd will block our progress. Oh well. At least I don't have to buy any gifts myself. I will reciprocate the gifts I've received (a bottle of carnation essence perfume and a little white teddy bear in a big heart-and-lip-blazoned latte mug from my coworkers) next week, in honor of President's Day. A set of Lincoln Logs and a basket of cherries, perhaps. And tomorrow is all about half-priced chocolate, you know?

Hey, I got through the whole post without mentioning That Word once. Yay!

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