Monday, February 17, 2014

Presidents Day - a national holiday that celebrates liberal Presidents

Presidents Day celebrates the combined holidays of two of our most liberal presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, although Alabama celebrates the combined birthdays of Washington and Thomas Jefferson rather than Lincoln, in spite of the fact that Jefferson's birthday is in April.  (Presumably, the people responsible for these things in 'Bama still hold some kind of civil war grudge against President Lincoln, for ending slavery and for resisting their treasonous war of aggression against the United States.)

Each of these presidents is remarkable for having been great leaders who held the office at uniquely difficult times.

Each of these presidents was also remarkable for holding liberal views in their day, as demonstrated both by their politics and especially as demonstrated by some of their quotes.

“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” -  George Washington
“The government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion” - George Washington
Meanwhile less than a hundred years later, in the mid-19th century, the GOP aka the Republican Party was originally a predominantly liberal new party when Lincoln joined it, founded by abolitionists.  The 19th century splits or fragments in that party included liberal Radical Republicans from the 1850s to the late 1870s, and the Liberal Republican Party, also in the 1870s. The party of Lincoln and Lincoln himself, had nothing in common with the modern GOP, or it's subset the Tea Party radical right extremists, except the name.  These quotes from Lincoln cover some of those essential and fundamental differences in political thinking and values   :

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice. - Abraham Lincoln

“Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose - and you allow him to make war at pleasure.”
- Abraham Lincoln

"The assertion that "all men are created equal" was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain, and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use." - Abraham Lincoln

For the unreformed and unrepentent treasonous conservative celebrants of Thomas Jefferson in Alabama and elsewhere on Presidents' Day, it is worth noting that he, too, was a liberal, underlining the point with a few quotes:
To unequal privileges among members of the same society the spirit of our nation is, with one accord, adverse." - Thomas Jefferson

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." - Thomas Jefferson

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor.
- Thomas Jefferson

Presidents' Day is not usually claimed for celebration of the 4th president memorialized on Mount Rushmore, Teddy Roosevelt, another Republican, another liberal aka proud progressive. Lincoln was significant as a president for his trust-busting of the excessively large and corrupt corporations:

"It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize."  - Theodore Roosevelt

"The death-knell of the republic had rung as soon as the active power became lodged in the hands of those who sought, not to do justice to all citizens, rich and poor alike, but to stand for one special class and for its interests as opposed to the interests of others." - Theodore Roosevelt

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