Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “holiday”

Day for Mothers brings voices back

I hate holidays.  Scratch that.  The only holiday I don’t really despise is Halloween.  All other holidays are over-commercialized.  You know that you’re going to spend money on costumes, candy, and makeup for Halloween but why does everyone try to guilt us into buying more crap that no one needs just because it’s a holiday?

Today is Mothers’ Day and it’s allowed us (the voices) to move forward and take over the post ’cause even though I have kids, Mothers’ Day has always been somewhat annoying.  Eldest Son sent a brief text message (just “Happy Mothers’ Day).  No call or even an email after months of no contact.  Youngest Son and Husband though did do a good job at making me feel better though.  They allowed me to sleep-in and then made lunch and bought roses for me.  Very, very appreciated it was and no overspending.  If they’re going to overspend I’d prefer that they overspend time with me during the day.  It’s better than anything they could drag home from a store.

Did call Biological Mother today.  Wished her a happy Mothers’ Day and received the same in return.  Always thought it was strange when she’d wish me a happy Mothers’ Day because I’m a mother but I’m not her mother.  I think that’s just a OCD thing.  Husband called his mother to wish her the same today.  I have no idea what she had to say because he’s the only one who talked to her.  She sent me a Mothers’ Day card (again, seems silly but that’s just me) and a note inside which thanked me for sending articles to her that I didn’t send and asking me how I spell my name (by the way, Husband and I have been married almost 17 years now).  And when I’m feeling the way I am today (and the voices are more likely to keep redirecting my concentration), it’s best I don’t talk to too many people.

Presidents’ Day Sale: Isn’t that every day?

Once again we have another Federal holiday and the newspapers, radio, and television are filled to the brim with advertisements for Presidents’ Day Sales.  Will we ever have a holiday that doesn’t involve unbridled avarice?  Sure, we’re a capitalist society, but we do we have to change our holidays from times of remembrance and honor to just simply buying the crap out of everything?

Of course, I’m also one of the “old fogeys” who remembers back-in-the-day when we used to celebrate George Washington’s birthday on one date (February 22nd) and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on another (February 12th).  And if you’re reading this and have no idea who either of those people are, then please, in all seriousness, stop reading my blog because you’re just going to embarrass yourself.  Our school classrooms were always decorated with silhouettes of Washington and Lincoln and the red-white-and-blue bulletin board borders were strung around the room and decorated each desk.  Sometimes there would be contests to see who could dress-up most like either of them and some teachers who only wanted to have to decorate once in the month of February would put the silhouettes of our first and sixteenth presidents (facing each other, usually) inside a large pink heart.  That one always confused me.

After the recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday as a Federal holiday, a lot of states stopped celebrating Lincoln’s birthday because they didn’t want to have to give their employees another paid day-off.  Some states still celebrate it, however, as a state holiday (Illinois being one of the biggest).  But if we had a holiday for every president and event in our country’s history, the government would never be open and all Federal employees would spend most of their time off with pay.  Actually, there are some days it seems like they do that anyway.  Technically, there is no “Presidents’ Day” or “President’s Day” or “Presidents Day” (depending on your interpretation of punctuation rules).  The official designation is Washington’s Birthday and no formal bill has ever changed that.  Some have tried — Nixon issued an executive order to celebrate all presidents (including himself, of course) but that didn’t change the holiday.  A bill was even introduced in 2001 but it never made it out of the subcommittee trying to present it.

So, the sales we’re having are actually to celebrate Washington’s birthday.  But let’s look at the phrasing of what’s printed on most of our calendars because the greeting card industry and all the politically-correct rulesmongers won’t have us ignoring the other 43 presidents we’ve had.  Presidents’ Day.  A day for all of the presidents.

Now let’s add the commercialization part.  Presidents’ Day Sale.  A day to sell presidents?  We have that every day, don’t we?  Look at the current campaigns — it’s a battle for who’s got the most money; who can spend the most in a certain area; and who is going to promise the most going back to the citizens just so long as they donate enough to help them get elected.  No one without a huge “war chest” could even dream of becoming president.  If you don’t already have your own large amount of money that’s doing nothing but waiting to be spent, a PAC, a Super-PAC, or a Super-Sized-PAC-with-fries-and-a-drink, you don’t stand a chance.

Technically, we buy-and-sell our presidents every day.  After one election ends and the inauguration occurs, hopefuls for the next one four years down the road start jockeying for position.  And anyone in politics who says they’re not interested in running is probably lying through their teeth.  But behind the scenes, where the lobbyists and special-interest groups lurk while pretending they’re not involved, the money gathering begins.  If you’ve got the money, we’ve got the candidate for you!

It’s been jokingly suggested that we should make all of our politicians wear uniforms with their “sponsors” logos on them, like the NASCAR drivers do.  There’d be some who’d have to change outfits four-or-more times a day just so every donor would get equal “screen time.”  Watching them trying to give a speech or meet-and-greet with the public would be hysterical as they try to ensure shaking enough hands while holding a sponsoring beverage in the other.  Shoot, the State of the Union address would have everyone sitting and listening to the president while an aide did the old “hat dance” (where the winning driver had to briefly wear a hat from each of the race’s sponsors during the post-race interview) as they sat in the gallery.  I’d almost pay to see that!

The current political climate is already bragging and complaining about money raised and spent and who has how much.  Sure, they say we have “free” elections — but don’t take that too literally.  We’ll pay for it, for good or for bad, one way or another.

I have a dream — that today you’ll save money on a new living room set?

What is it with the rampant consumerism that makes everyone believe that any Federal holiday would be the perfect time to have a sale?  Martin Luther King Day (or, specifically this year, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday) was the last Federal holiday to be implemented.  Yes, President George W. Bush issued a “national state of mourning” that has been called “Patriots’ Day” every September since 2001, but it’s not an official holiday.  It wasn’t until 2000 that MLK Day (as it’s often abbreviated) was celebrated by all 50 states, even though the law declaring it an official Federal holiday was passed in 1986.

I remember being in school and not celebrating MLK Day.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, it mostly was because the town in which I lived did not have many black people living there.  Those who did live there sent their children to other school districts.  When I went to elementary school, I was in a different school district where I was the minority and my pasty-white skin tone was a dead giveaway that I wasn’t “from around there.”  So, when just before junior high (or middle school as they refer to it now) my family moved to a new school district, I was absolutely gobsmacked that everyone looked like me.  Well, not exactly like me, but you get the idea.  We were one of the whitest school districts around.  I only knew of one student who was of African-American descent, and she was adopted by a rich caucasian family, so no one looked down upon her.  Otherwise, I couldn’t believe what my new classmates had to say about anyone of a different race.  I remember asking once where the black students were and was laughed at as if my idea of attending school with “them” was in any way appropriate.  I missed my black and white friends from my old school district.  I also made myself a promise that I’d be sure my kids (if I ever had any) would understand that all are equal.  A big step for a fifth-grader.

Eldest Son went to elementary school in a very diverse district where there were many students from many racial, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.  When a new job forced us to move away into a new area, I felt horrible because we’d moved into one of the most racist counties in our state.  People there bragged about how anyone not “of the correct color” would be run-out of town and how their children weren’t welcome in the school districts.  While we were there, Youngest Son was born and a year later, we moved again.  We moved back to my original “hometown” (I have a hard time claiming just one) where the racial mix was roughly even at that time.  Both boys had friends of many different backgrounds and I was very pleased to see that they didn’t pick up the bad habits of those who, in that very economically and intellectually depressed area, felt the Jim Crow laws should never have been abolished.  It was hard at times trying to make sure that they kept their focus on equality for everyone instead of listening to the majority that steadily grew who didn’t want “those people” in our town.

Now, Eldest Son is in college and making lots of friends with LOTS of different backgrounds.  The town in which we live now isn’t quite as diverse as where we were, but Youngest Son still remembers that he needs to treat everyone equally and his opinion changes only when someone does something against him first.  I’d like to think I’ve done a pretty good job — but my work isn’t over.

So today we’re all sitting at home enjoying some time together because (1) Husband is a Federal employee and all Federal offices are closed, (2) I’m not deployed away from home and even if I was I wouldn’t be working on a Federal holiday, and (3) Youngest Son is out of school because the local school district commemorates MLK Day by closing the third Monday of every January.  And every other commercial on the local channels is about how you can save money on a car or how a store has extended hours just for today’s shopping convenience or even how celebrating this holiday will get you money off your breakfast/lunch/dinner.  Where are the celebrations?  Where are the parades??  A town west of here did have a commemorative march and a multicultural festival (which is a good thing since it is known for a horrible race crime in the early-1900s) to help people learn about the holiday, what it stands for, and why it’s important to remember.

And don’t get me started yet on the rest of the holidays that are treated as this one is.  Actually, many of them are worse!  But never fear, dear readers — as they come up you’ll be sure to get my opinions regarding them.

I sit and realize that the vast majority of students today who are enjoying the day off from school have no idea why the man being honored today has received the honor.  I realize that the same majority don’t even know who he was or why it’s important to remember not just him but the entire movement and all of the historic changes that he, his followers/assistants and his ideas brought to our country.  And just like the rest of the Federal holidays (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas), they don’t care.  What a sad state of affairs it is.

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