After a weekend of hurricane damage, destruction and stress, many of us could use a day off.
Most state workers got that Monday as they celebrated Columbus Day -- one of two holidays Georgia uses to honor men who championed slavery. A third state holiday commemorates the Confederacy, which, despite the addled ramblings of your Civil War reenacting uncle, no longer exists.
Surely we can find better things to celebrate.
Let's look at the holidays we will be keeping.
- Independence Day: Nothing says "freedom" like a backyard BBQ in 100-degree heat. July 4th gets top billing because you aren't required to spend time or money on anyone but yourself. That sounds selfish, but what is more American than that?
- Thanksgiving: Lots of great food, decent football and -- for those who aren't cooking -- no work. But there's usually a distant, disturbing relative lurking near the gravy boat. Also, someone may suggest you rake leaves.
- Christmas: The only time of year parents can feel good about lying to their kids. Loses points for being so expensive.
- Veterans Day/Memorial Day/Labor Day/Martin Luther King Day/President's Day: These are all good excuses to not work, though you may be surprised to learn Labor Day has nothing to do with childbirth.
Four Georgia holidays have exceeded their shelf life.
- Columbus Day: The Italian explorer is often said to have "discovered America" but he never set foot here. He was a fine sailor, but he enslaved thousands and contributed to the slaughter of an entire civilization and the birth of the African slave trade.
- Robert E. Lee's birthday: Georgia, due to shame, now simply lists this as "state holiday." The Confederate military genius who still lost was born in January, but most state employees think he was born the day after Thanksgiving. Columbus never set food in Georgia, but the Civil War legend certainly did. Lee's father, Revolutionary war hero Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee III, was buried on Cumberland Island when he died in 1818. One of Robert E. Lee's first military assignments was to Cockspur Island, near Tybee Island, where he planned the construction of Fort Pulaski. Interesting info, but not enough to deserve a state holiday. After all, Lee literally went to war to preserve slavery.
- Confederate Memorial Day: Also listed on the state calendar as "state holiday." State workers get a day off in April to honor those who died trying to kill United States soldiers.
- Washington's Birthday: We already have President's Day. Washington is universally revered but he did own slaves, which is enough to give him the boot from our more entertaining calendar. Thanks for your service Mr. Washington.
Here's four new and improved state holidays to delight you.
- Halloween: It's more fun than George Washington's wooden teeth and comes with candy and costumes. It also generates more sales tax revenue.
- Petapalooza: An outdoor festival of four-legged friends. Those without pets will be forced to volunteer at animal shelters or knit a sweater for their neighbor's dachshund.
- College Football Kickoff Day: A daylong party to celebrate teams from UGA, Tech or maybe even Auburn. Humans wearing a jersey are exempt from all beer and hot wing sales taxes.
- Happy [Corporate Sponsor Name Goes Here] Day: The state budget could always use a few extra million. Why not raffle off a state holiday to the highest bidder? I'd celebrate Coca-Cola Day or Delta Air Lines Day if it means another day off. In times of extreme fiscal mismanagement the state could take bids on a whole week of new holidays.