This is a National Day of Mourning, and since President Trump ordered it, reporters, pundits and Democrats are bitching about it. It also helps that the dead President in question is a Republican. Had a National Day of Mourning been designated to bury recently-canonized Trump-hater John McCain, I doubt any complianing would have been put in print. Or (still kicking) Jimmy Carter, on my ranking list an equally inept President as Bush #1.
Over at the National Review, Charles Cooke questions whether we “over-honor” our Presidents, writing in part,
“Irrespective of whether he was a great man or a poor one, George H. W. Bush was a public employee. He was not a king. He was not a pope. He did not found or save or design the republic. To shut down our civil society for a day in order to mark his peaceful passing is to invert the appropriate relationship between the citizen and the state, and to take yet another step toward the fetishization of an executive branch whose role is supposed to be more bureaucratic than spiritual, but that has come of late to resemble Caesar more than to resemble Coolidge.”
Well, that’s your quiz: is he right? Or is the National Day of Mourning just a waste of money and over-kill, if you’ll excuse the term?
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day, dedicated to George Herbert Walker Bush, is…
Do we over-honor our Presidents?
You can have my answer now: absolutely not.
Every President, and I mean every President, makes a massive sacrifice for his country. Good, bad, great, weak, brilliant or tragically flawed, they take on the most crushing responsibility imaginable, and the job gets more difficult, and more unpleasant, with each passing decade. Four Presidents have been assassinated. Four more came close. It is a dangerous job, and an incredibly stressful one. Our schools don’t teach Presidential history; few American can name 25% of the Presidents off the top of their heads. We don’t honor our Presidents enough.
One day put aside for the nation to say thank-you is minimal, and deserved, not just by the late President Bush, but by every one of his fellow White House occupants.