American Elephants


President’s Day is Tomorrow, Monday the 17th of February by The Elephant's Child

George Washington Portrait, Gilbert-Stuart, 1795

This year President’s Day is on Monday, the 17th. It was designed to honor George Washington’s birthday which is actually on the 22nd, but then they decided to add in the rest of the presidents so no one would be excluded, and to stop any vast array of birthdays of presidents around the calendar. Trump is the 45th president, so you can see the problem, and just imagine the outcry if we deigned to set aside a special day to honor Donald John Trump, however much he might deserve it.

If you are interested in our first president, and the leader of the army in the Revolution, you can read past pieces about Washington in our archives, especially the ones about his image, and the conspiracy behind that. There’s an image at the head of one that is a “forensic reconstruction“, and some biographies are recommended.

If  you have a dollar bill handy, especially a fairly crisp one, compare the portrait of Washington on the dollar bill with the image at the head of American Elephants today. That’s because artist Gilbert Stuart was unkind to George Washington because Washington was more annoyed than grateful that Stuart was painting his picture. The face on the dollar bill comes from Stuart’s mean portrait. Even the reconstruction is surely faulty since Washington had spent years outdoors in all kinds of weather, with fair skin, lots of sunburns and lots of wrinkles, which do alter the appearance. Every classroom when I was growing up had a portrait of Lincoln and Washington, and a flag in the corner to which we all pledged allegiance. There is a generation that learned their history from Howard Zinn, and consequently don’t know that America really is a special country.*

I don’t know if there are any employers who give a day off for President’s Day, but that could be another 3 day weekend which are very nice, but not so much in mid February.

*If you were unfortunate enough to grow up with Howard Zinn’s “history” a must-read is Mary Grabar’s new book Debunking Howard Zinn, in which the author exposes and documents the multitude of lies, bad sources, and deliberate falsehoods Zinn used to influence a generation to think that America is nothing special. They’re probably the same ones now favoring the old socialist Bernie Sanders who lures them in with phony promises of making everybody equal and universal health care, and paying off their student loans. Fat chance.


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