UScode.house.gov - The Bane of Modern Law
So don't get me wrong, but how is it that it took until 2002 to declare a "patriot" day? This does not discount or is in any way meant to take away from the amazing and courageous people, both who lived and died on the day of infamy in 2001 - it's just that I can expect that throughout the limited history of this country there have certainly been other substantial and amazing heroes, acts of valor, courage and heroism, and surely there have been more souls in raw numbers sacrificing their lives at one time (D-Day for example); so is this realistic or just another day of so-called patriotic recognition days that have been so emphasized lately - meaning, in the last decade specifically?
First, the site this is taken from is the US Code website - and it contains the codes created or updated by our somewhat inept and ineffective congressional shleps (those laws which are decided by high courts of the land, rectified, codified, and of course purport to be supplementary to the Constitution). This code database has some interesting things about it, but mostly is a good way to fall asleep when you have rabid insomnia - should you actually attempt to read the things. There is a moderately reasonable search facility which is the saving grace - save for that you have the time and patience to use this to search terms or suggested terms.
Second, this site is disturbing. In recording all the laws of the previous decade, it offers a window into how our dear old elected officials spend quality time. This, as opposed to the non-quality bickering from which nothing at all productive emerges. On one hand you have the urgency of the taxpayer wanting to see progress, and on the other the catch-22 - the more productive they are, the more inane and potentiall hurtful the laws are that have been recorded in any given year. This is not to say that there are not some good laws and improvements on the watch of congress from a particular year - just, in looking through a random assortment of years, that there are far too few improvements that a) are well positioned, b) thought out, and c) don't look as if they could be manipulated to destroy our liberties wholesale.
So my inspiration for this column, as it might be, was really to take a stark look at some of the annoying, worrisome and downright strange trends in the laws of the high court of the United States. And the winner is... no, there can't be a winner - just too many entrants to sort it properly in a single lifetime. What we can show is patterns of a questionable nature, so that you too can wonder what the lesser of the two evils of slacking and making too many laws really is.
In the pole position is the number and assortment of various "patriotic holidays" as they have now been formally defined - for in 2002 this was the list of officially recognized days, weeks, and rememberances:
101. American Heart Month.
102. Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month.
103. Cancer Control Month.
104. Carl Garner Federal Lands Cleanup Day.
105. Child Health Day.
106. Citizenship Day.
107. Columbus Day.
108. Constitution Week.
109. Father's Day.
110. Flag Day.
111. Gold Star Mother's Day.
112. Honor America Days.
113. Law Day, U.S.A.
114. Leif Erikson Day.
115. Loyalty Day.
116. Memorial Day.
117. Mother's Day.
118. National Aviation Day.
119. National Day of Prayer.
120. National Defense Transportation Day.
121. National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
122. National Flag Week.
123. National Forest Products Week.
124. National Freedom Day.
125. National Grandparents Day.
126. National Hispanic Heritage Month.
127. National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.
128. National Maritime Day.
129. National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
130. National Poison Prevention Week.
131. National Safe Boating Week.
132. National School Lunch Week.
133. National Transportation Week.
134. Pan American Aviation Day.
135. Parents' Day.
136. Peace Officers Memorial Day.
137. Police Week.
138. Save Your Vision Week.
139. Steelmark Month.
140. Stephen Foster Memorial Day.
141. Thomas Jefferson's birthday.
142. White Cane Safety Day.
143. Wright Brothers Day.
144. Patriot Day.
At this point, I'm merely trying not to channel Andy Rooney. Here's a few immediate favorites: White Cane Safety Day, National Forest Products Day, Loyalty Day, Law Day (my personal favorite), and the Carl Garner federal lands cleanup day (as Carl would say, "Dagnabit! Arkansas ain't Kansas" ppps. The BBC wishes to apologize to both of these states and the decendents of Carl Garner).
So that's a whopping 43 ratified or re-acknowledged holidays recognized in 2002. There are some repeats, I swear I've seen before - Tom Jefferson was on the original roster, Columbus Day is there and has been despite the flak of not being the first here and being a slave driving despot all the same, and of course Father's Day - but wait, what's this?
There's a Gold Star Mother's Day (could be worse, Gold Bond Mothers, anyone?), whatever that is. Also, a National Poison Prevention Week, a National Safe Boating Week, and A National Defense Transportation Day? Anyone for a motor pool? Right-O.
This isn't even scratching the surface, because upon inspection of this next link which so happens to be a Wikipedia page (having abstracted many years of boring code to a single holiday section quite nicely)...:
And here the fun starts, or ends - one way or the other: The gravity of merely tending for the holidays that have presidential proclamations looks like we really do need at least 10-20 congress-persons dedicated to the maintenance of this juggernaut.
(I left this in for effect, and for the fallen bottom dwelling fish everywhere. They eat our old tires and shoes people! Have some respect.
-- The Ed. )
The following observances have been mandated or authorized by Congress, but are no longer proclaimed or observed on a regular basis.
So herein lies this rub: There is a mourning of that solemn day on June 25th when we once celebrated Catfish day, but have been stripped of the privilege. It comforts me to know that there is only one day set aside for women's equality, while there is a week for Farm Safety and Health, and September is Drug Recovery while November is Drunk and Drugged Prevention Month - uh oh, looks like the recovery programs go straight to hell over Haloween or something else quite alarming - but in some defense, there is a Women's History Month, but I guess that equality isn't rather important, being that the month is also shared by the Irish-American community. Women's Equality = Irish Americans = Red Cross Month - so does Betsy Ross win the tie then?
None of this really matters - what does, is that there's ALREADY A PATRIOTS' DAY. Patriots', mind you, in stark opposition to the new Patriot Day. April 19th is Patriots' Day sure enough, even though the rememberance of the Battle of Lexington-Concord is observed by choice few, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Wisconsin (Wisconsin?). The point here is that in trying to come up with a holiday to show respect for the 2,993 fallen on September 11th, our leaders didn't even try to come up with some new holiday - they opted for lopping off the plural "S" and the humble quotation mark, and re-used an already existing holiday. Adding insult to carelessness, they shoved it through the political machine, using our tax dollars to do so. All of a sudden, I not only wanted to question if the 9/11 fallen deserved another moniker, but also if they deserved a slim moment of real consideration, which they seem to have been denied with prejudice.
I was truly wondering where the day came from, and now that I know I propose this drastic series of adjustments and discipline: 11,000 handwritten standards on the chalkboard for each member of our grossly lazy and dis-respective collection of miscreants we call congress - "I will not use another holiday in plural and convert it to singular for anything as important as that which would deserve a presidential acknowledgement in the first place". Next, a week for each family of the fallen to live in the houses and piss on the sink of each congressional waste of air. Finally, a ban on any and all holiday reviews or restatements no matter how much moolah you're pocketing from the Forest Products Council.
Or we could just shoot em, and say we did. It's looking less likely that there would be any reason to differentiate between the two possible options, every day - and when I find a gem of a kernel of an indicator that shows just how much they mock heroes, leaders, and the very patriots that *have* come before such as this, I must admit my preference slides toward the more unrealistic. Useless is as useless does, Mr. Majority Leader.