Dear President Trump,
Ok, I owe you an apology. Apparently it’s customary for current presidents to honor deceased presidents with federal holidays. It happened most recently in 2004 when GW Bush declared a holiday in honor of President Reagan, which I should’ve remembered since I was working at the VA then. It also happened in 1994 when Clinton honored Nixon. The latter factoid presages that someday some president will (hopefully) have to hold her or his nose and declare a federal holiday to mark your passing. I suppose a recently promoted vice president could do it to, but we won’t get into that.
I do want to note, though, that the second item that came up in my Reagan Google search was a 2004 WP article focused on how incredibly expensive the day was to the government and thus, to tax payers. Back then OPM managers couldn’t say how much it cost because they didn’t know how many of what sorts of workers were given the day off; just FYI – it still doesn’t look like anyone is reporting on this angle regarding the GHWB holiday. Back in 2004 the daily payroll cost for all federal workers was $423 million and at that time, those required to work were paid time and a half. I don’t know what the current daily payroll cost is, but this time, those who worked yesterday got double time so it seems like it’s a pretty safe guess that the excess cost will be at least $100 million.
I’m no longer fussing at you about the cost or the disruption and I’m sorry I assumed the worst of you without checking it out first. That’s usually not really a gamble, but every once in a blue moon I overreach. In this case you essentially had no choice but to follow suit and declare the federal day of mourning. Seeing the clips of you at the memorial service I’ve no doubt you would have rather been just about anywhere else yesterday, listening to just about anything else. I’m also guessing that you were not very keen on declaring the federal holiday at all. You really looked miserable at the funeral. Between having to sit in the same pew as your self-made archenemies and listening to the eulogists go on and on about how honorable, humble, service-oriented, and brave GHWB was, it was your own special day of well-deserved hell.
May we be safe from leaders who are only in it for themselves.
May we be willing to fact check.
May we apologize when that’s the healthy, strong thing to do (and not when it’s not).
May you not start a war.