Presidents Day

Well, it’s a holiday for some of you, but not for yours truly. No rest for the wicked, as they say.

Speaking of the wicked, today is when we honor U.S. presidents. I have to say, being born in 1964, none of the presidents in my lifetime have been more than intermittently inspiring. Growing up I was an Abe Lincoln partisan, and as an adult I’ll stick with him as my favorite.

On the other hand, the best song I know about a president is “James K. Polk” by They Might Be Giants, a historically accurate paean to the 11th president, and they make him out to be quite a fellow:

“In four short years he met his every goal/He seized the whole southwest from Mexico/Made sure the tariffs fell/And made the English sell/The Oregon Territory/He built an independent treasury/Having done all this he sought no second term.”

Who’s your favorite prez?

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  • Charles Bentley

    As one who was born a few years ahead of you, David (emphasis on few, if you please!), I have always found true inspiration in the legacy of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. I was far too young to recall much about his all-too-brief presidency. But on the wall in my office is a framed image of JFK, and featured with it is the following text, words that convey such a clear message to us today.

    “This country is moving and it must not stop. It cannot stop. For this is a time of courage and a time for challenge. Neither conformity nor complacency will do. Neither the fanatics nor the faint-hearted are needed. And our duty as a party is not to our party alone, but to the Nation, and, indeed, to all mankind. Our duty is not merely the preservation of political power but the preservation of peace and freedom.

    “So let us not be petty when our cause is so great. Let us not quarrel amongst ourselves when our Nation’s future is at stake. Let us stand together with renewed confidence in our cause – united in our heritage of the past and our hopes for the future – and determined that this land we love shall lead all mankind on to the frontiers of peace and abundance.”

    Those remarks were intended to be delivered by President Kennedy in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 22, 1963.

    Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot.

    [Very nice, Charles. Now let’s dab our eyes and wait for the next presidential fan to offer up a comment. — DA]

  • Teri Siaz

    I agree with They Might Be Giants:

    Any president named ‘Polk’ has got to be good.

    …At least it’s an honest moniker.

  • Kristin McConnell

    My favorite is FDR. He brought us out of the Depression by creating all the work corps, the so-called “Alphabet Soup” of organizations that were invented to get America working again. He brought hope to thousands of people who were out of work, and now, we can still enjoy the places that the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created–such as Hillcrest Park in Fullerton. He did more than that, but this should do. 🙂

  • Jim Lee

    Not to change the subject but related to Kristin’s entry I’d be interested to see a topic on David’s blog covering FDR-era public work projects that remain in the Inland Valley today.

    Sorry, I digress. Carry on…

    [Good digression. The one that leaps to mind is the WPA mural in the Claremont post office but there must be numerous other places. — DA]

  • Kristin McConnell

    Hey! I inspired a thread! Cool! 🙂 Thanks, Jim! 🙂

  • JMac

    Most of the exhibit buildings at the Fairgrounds are WPA projects, I believe.