By Michael P. Riccards
When I was a boy, we had off Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday, and the media each year featured stories on each of these great men. Now we have combined the two days into Presidents Day and use it to sell cars, clothing and electronics. This year not a single media source I use even acknowledged our fine presidents. The exception is ignorant left wing extremists who want to strip the names of men who were not politically correct from buildings that bear their names. My god, if a president who freed overall four million people cannot be respected, who can?
After four years of Trumpism, why don’t we examine what are the characteristics of a great president — honesty, vision, knowledge, honorable character. Twice in a little over a century two presidents have saved the union and the western world, Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Doesn’t that count? Should we not prize a man or a woman who appeals to the better angels of our nature?
I still can see John Kennedy talking of our pride in being Americans. I am still stirred by remembering Lyndon Johnson saying we shall overcome. I can still recall Eisenhower telling the American people that we were not going into the Suez Canal. The adults in the room simply said, “Well if Ike says so, it must be so.” Then they went in to watch The Danny Thomas Show.
We have had good presidents and bad presidents. And now one evil president. But let us on this Presidents Day remember we once had a rendezvous with destiny .
Michael P. Riccards, a former college president. is the author of 30 books, including a two-volume history of the presidency, The Ferocious Engine of Democracy, and the recently published Woodrow Wilson as Commander-in-Chief.