Texas has decided to create a new statewide holiday in honor of the 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush. The new holiday will occur every year on July 6, which is the former president’s birthday.*
Speaking at a press conference where he discussed the newly approved holiday, Governor Greg Abbott said the day was appropriate to celebrate the legacy of “a great man and a great leader”.
The move did not come without controversy. Citing the checkered legacy of the George W. Bush’s reign, many critics wondered whether a holiday was really warranted. One Democratic state lawmaker summarized the case against a new holiday as follows:
“During his presidency, the national debt basically doubled, the economy was worse than historical trends, the US military got involved in more wars overseas, and the number of terrorists wishing to do harm to Americans worldwide increased significantly. Why the hell do we want a holiday to celebrate that?”
The sentiments were echoed by other lawmakers and commentators in the weeks leading up to the vote. However, Governor Abbott and his allies managed to satisfy the critics with a simple riposte, “Well, he could have been worse.”
Though simplistic, the rebuttal proved hard to disagree with.
Indeed, given the various reprehensible actions of presidents like John Adams (the Alien and Sedition Acts), Woodrow Wilson (World War I), FDR (Japanese internment camps, wage and price controls, etc.), and others, the argument was obviously true.
Accordingly, legislation creating the new holiday ultimately passed both houses of the legislature by a comfortable margin. And starting next July 6, Texans can proudly celebrate the legacy of a president who technically could have been worse.
*This is a satirical post. As far as we know, there’s no movement in Texas to create a holiday in honor of George W. Bush. On the other hand, Illinois has decided to create a holiday for Barack Obama, and all the same objections aired above apply to Obama as well.