Presidents Day 2009 Musings

Today is a Presidents Day. Let’s remember what we are celebrating when we celebrate Presidents Day. We are celebrating the fact that America is now too cheap to give us days off from work for George Washington and Abraham Lincoln separately.

For the 12 to 14 people watching MSNBC, despite what they tell you, Presidents Day is not about our current President. Yes, I know that they worship him almost as much as he worships himself. Yes, I know he and they compare him to Lincoln. Yet further discussion of our current President will be put on hold until he actually accomplishes something. Today is not devoted to speakers. It is devoted to doers.

The world of sports also has plenty of talkers that did anything. They never played the game. The trend this week is beating up on Brett Favre. (This is the first non-football weekend, and I am already grouchy. 30 weeks of misery…blah. Yes, the Daytona 500 happened yesterday, but the Chicago apartment I am staying in does not have a television.)

As for Favre, the stories are hard negative. As a born and raised New Yorker, let me bring some sanity to the discussion. The Jets were nothing without Favre, and they will go back to being nothing in the near future. They finished 9-7 this year. Last year without Favre they were 4-12.

Had the Jets started 4-7 and finished 9-7, there would be praise. Yet they began 8-3, and collapsed down the stretch. In fact, at 6-3, they then went on the road, defeated New England in a thriller, and then shocked 10-0 Tennessee on the road as well. Then they lost games at home they should have won.

Yes, the Jets fell apart, especially in the final game at home against Miami. This is what the Jets have done throughout their history since Joe Willie Namath retired. In the 1980s they had one season where they began 10-1 before losing their final five games. In 1997, Bill Parcells took a 1-15 team the year before and got them to 9-7. However, they were 8-5, and losing 2 of their last 3 cost them a playoff spot. In 2000, the Jets were 9-4 under Al Groh and in first place. They then lost the final 3 games to miss the playoffs. The last game was against the eventual champion Ravens, but the Jets led that game 14-0 before wilting. So to blame Brett Favre for a team collapse in 2008 is nuts. Without him, they were garbage. Without him, look how well the Packers did this year. They went from 13-3 and the NFC Title Game to a losing record. Aaron Rodgers played well statistially, but football is not all about statistics. It is about leadership. Favre is a leader. I hope he unretires again.

One person who should never retire is Tennessee Volunteers Women’s Basketball Coach Pat Summitt. I do not watch women’s basketball, but I make an exception when Tennessee is in the final game. Pat Summitt has 1000 wins. This is unfathomable. I also confess to being scared to death of her, although people who have met her have said she is very friendly. Yet when she has that snarl on the sideline, I am just glad I am not the one in trouble.

While I am not trying to compare people in sports to what great presidents have done in terms of significance, there is a common thread. That thread is leadership. Some people do things better tha everybody else. They have something inside of them. The problem is that they then get put on pedestals, which is unfair to them.

Abraham Lincoln was considered a loser during his time in office. He is only now revered. his reward for saving the Union was a bullet to the head.

Brett Favre is getting the emotional equivalent of that. People are saying that he tarnished his legacy. This is nonsense. People barely remember Johnny Unitas playing for the Chargers or Joe Namath playing for the Rams. Those men are heroes of the Colts and Jet respectively. Brett Favre can play as long as he wants. He will be a hero for the Packers long after the Jets still search for the successor to Namath.

Who the heck are we to tell people to step aside? We do this in business as well. We give older people their gold watch, their retirement dinner, and ship them off. Everybody wants new, hip, young, and cool. The problem with this is that old people know things. A lifetime of experience provides more value than any new slogan or powerpoint presentation.

Think of that when thinking about Valentines Day. Rather than try to market to every young couple, let’s honor the people that have been married 40, 50, or 60 years. They may not be telegenic, but they sure know what love is about.

Anyway, I have a plane to catch. I am leaving this dreadfully cold city of Chicago and heading back to Los Angeles. I will kiss the ground upon my return to warm weather.

While I am in the air, I wish you all a peaceful Presidents Day. Just remember to spend less time praising those that promise big things, and even less time than that listening to the critics that never accomplished anything.

Honor those that got the job done. They did not seek praise. They let their actions build their legacy.

Now if only George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were judged individually, we could have two days off again like we used to get.


7 Responses to “Presidents Day 2009 Musings”

  1. Micky 2 says:

    Yea, I think it was Saturday morning, after watchung CNN for an hour I couldnt take it anymore. The crew that morning along with Soledad OBrian kept making connections between Obama and Lincoln at every opportunity they could find.
    When she went as far as to credit them both with the same tall lanky appearance I’d had enough.
    If Abe were around today he would be disgusted with Obama, as well as quite a few other politicians.

  2. Dav Lev says:

    I too as a child and teenager loved and adored Mr. Lincoln. I went to his and other monuments
    on three warm April day years ago, during our senior class trip to the capital city.

    Then a saw one of the Planet of the Apes movies and began to have second
    thoughts about our supposedly best President, or second best.
    I guess it was that statue (but I don’t want to give away the movie).

    I still adore Mr. Lincoln but have lost some of the reverence I had for him.
    I mean, after all, over 600,000 were killed, thousands more wounded,
    hundreds of thousands of families shattered and let’s not forget Sherman’s march.

    I can understand why some in the Southern tier of States really don’t appreciate this holiday, nor have cities or streets named after certain

    Don’t get me wrong, I would have been against a cancer growing
    out of these United States of American, called the Confederate States,
    but did this all really have to happen with such a ferocity?

    BTW, it’s raining cats and dogs., Eric. Nothing is ever perfect, even

  3. I think it’s a little naive to say the “Jets were nothing without Favre.” They made a lot of changes last offseason – changes that made life a lot easier for both the passing and running games, and run defense, all problematic the year before. And if you want proof – look at how well Pennington did in Miami. With the same revamped Oline, Pennington would have had just as good a season in NY. Penny is extremely underrated. He is, afterall, the most accurate passer in the HISTORY of the game. Two things killed the Jets down the stretch this season, and both of those things involved age. Favre pooped out as the season wore on, as did the veteran aquisitions on defense. Aquiring Favre was a mistake. Whether or not he opted to retire is his business alone, and he deserves and has earned all the lattitude in the world. But the Jets should have stayed away from him. Now they lost Pennington, lost Favre, and have no replacement that even comes close to either.

    The reason the Jets always stunk it up over the years is because they were cheap. They never put out the bucks for the talent, and in football, as in everything else in life, you get what you pay for. When I think of all the players the Jets could have had over the years (Marino, Riggins, etc) but were too cheap to sign, it makes me wanna puke. But when the Jets finally get an owner who finally wants to pony up the bucks, what do they do? They sign a steaming pile of old men who don’t have the stamina to make it through an entire season. Amazing.

    And I see a rather self-serving misinterpretation of history when you say “Abraham Lincoln was considered a loser during his time in office.” That’s just not true, and in the context I believe you’re applyng here, a non sequitor. Abraham Lincoln was one of those “love/hate” sort of popular figures. Everyone had an opinion of Lincoln, especially come his second term. The Slave States, of course, hated him. The other states varied. There were no mass polls taken in those days besides at the booth, and there, Lincoln won, by a minority the first time, but by a clear popular majority the second time. If you don’t know why that is, I suggest looking at a timeline of the Civil War. Whatever people thought of Lincoln, not many thought he was an idiot, or at least not many documented that belief. Some thought he was a tyrant, some a saint, but few thought he was a moronic puppet. Most Americans didn’t – really couldn’t – vote back then anyway, and so were probably ambivalent.

    But the “myth” and legacy of Lincoln were not formed all that long after his unfortunate demise. People see Lincoln today much the same way they did 50, 100, even 140 years ago. The Lincoln memorial was first proposed back in the 19th century and they didn’t put his mug on that cliff starting back in the 1920’s for nothing. Lincoln was still hugely unpopular in the South when those memorials were conceived and created. He really still is unpopular in the South today, but with the GOP absorbing all the old Dixiecrats, it’s not polite to say bad things about Lincoln in the South anymore. You can be sure they still hate him, though.


  4. Toma says:

    “Americans don’t care.” According to Chuck Summer.

    Did you see that farce in Florida? The guy waiving his arms and thanking God. Was that staged or what? Wonder how much the BHO people paid him? Then people asking for kitchens, cars and better jobs. I want, I want, gimme,gimme,gimme.

    WOW! What a joke.


  5. Micky 2 says:

    No Toma, that wasnt staged, these guys are really out there.
    Remember the lady at the convention that thought Obama was going to pay her mortgage, put food on her table and keep gas in her car ?
    Obama has created a draw on this mentallity.

  6. Micky 2 says:

    No Toma, that wasnt staged, these guys are really out there.
    Remember the lady at the convention that thought Obama was going to pay her mortgage, put food on her table and keep gas in her car ?
    Obama has created a draw on this mentallity.

  7. Toma says:

    Your are probably right Micky. The sad part of it is these people vote and are a big part of the Dem’s base.

    I’m sooo pissed at Chuck Schummer. He exemplifies what the Dems think of the American people.


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