Presidents Day ramblings from the prairie

Feb. 19 is recognized as Presidents Day across the country and those who work in the media and farmers and ranchers (and many others) will roll their eyes and joke about counterparts who work at banks and governmental offices that close in observance of the holiday.

The weekend will be filled with advertisements touting larger than life caricatures of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln while offering a large rebate on buying a vehicle, piece of furniture or mattress. I’ve long contended most of the presidents that were worth their salt would chuckle, too. Yet, I do recognize the value of recognizing the contributions of presidents—even the ones I did not care for personally—as the United States is the beacon of the free world.

With all the challenges in our country today—the U.S. remains the place many people want to live and work in.

It is hard to understand the challenges a president faces. Whether a president only has one term or is blessed by voters to get two terms the graying hair is a sure signal of the stress he faces. It is quite easy to make this observation, “why would anyone in his or her right mind want the job.”

In recent years the job has gotten tougher because of social media, extreme partisanship and dark money. A president today has much more to weave through than at any other time in our nation’s history.

Still, in studying history, there are plenty of examples where past presidents faced their own crisis. The War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I and II tested the resolve of our country and certainly the commander-in-chiefs of James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt, respectively, were under immense pressure as presidential scholars note.

The post World War II presidents have all faced challenges in many cases achieving great success but also had their share of “if I could have handled this different I would have done so.”

The shelf life of good times is few and the intense focus on bad times is excruciating. When the president accepts the “keys” of responsibilities he quickly learns it is a lot easier to be the candidate-in-chief, critical of the policies of his predecessor. President Donald Trump assails President Barack Obama and yet No. 45 should know the keys to the cars are in his hands and not with No. 44.

My belief is the trend will continue and this is all part of what our country will have to deal with not only today but in future presidents.

I think it is important to respect the person in office because he is the president of the most powerful country in the world. And I’m thankful there are term limits.

To each of the living presidents— Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and now President Trump—have a peaceful day. You earned it and if you want to go out and buy a new car you have my blessing.