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We should honor more presidents

Martin Luther King Jr. was a lion King. He roared great words of nonviolence on prejudicial insensibilities throughout our nation in the passive '50s and turbulent '60s.

The Brown vs. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954 was the catalyst for change. Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson took heed and acted, but only because of citizens like King and Rosa Parks.

Recently, on MLK Jr. Day, South Medford High School had a Sunday celebration. The next day the Historic Ashland Armory similarly celebrated King's accomplishments.

King freely quoted from our presidents, particularly Jefferson and Lincoln. His rhetorical skills were and are unmatched.

But what about Presidents' Day? Many know more about King than about George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe combined.

Presidents' Day has become Nordstrom day. MLK Day is fine, but our next generation of Oregonians needs to know why King's words were so penetrating and who set the climate for such grand rhetorical skills. They need to know about Washington at Trenton, Jefferson's Declaration and Madison's Constitution.

As a matter of fact, since we have a federal holiday for King, I hereby propose "separate-but-equal" holidays for Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, members in good standing of the Mount Rushmore club. Moreover, all three holidays will have similar celebratory festivals, bonfires, illuminations and educational value for students equivalent to MLK Day in Medford and Ashland and throughout this nation.

One last post-script: George Washington was indubitably our greatest president. Without General Washington, history remains silent on Honest Abe.

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Ashland City Councilman Eric Navickas is classless as well as foolish. He brought shame to Ashland, the Rogue Valley and himself as national news agencies reported on his childish, immature attempt at humor belittling our outgoing President.

As reported by the Mail Tribune, "People who visited MAda Shell Gallery during Ashland's First Friday art walk on Jan. 2 could pay a dollar to fire a paint-covered shoe at Navickas' big painting of Bush."

Personally, I believe George W. Bush had highs and lows, ups and downs, agonies and ecstasies. Sadly, the Republican party is bereft of leadership, purpose and chutzpah.

But Mr. Navickas, President Bush showed more hospitality, civility and respect to President Obama than you did to the citizens of Ashland. Mr. Navickas, I know President Bush and Councilman, you're no President Bush! You're one of the reasons we need to celebrate three Presidents Days.

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State Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland, said, "I know that some of my Republican colleagues struggle with the concept of having to raise revenue. It's hard to take votes that raise revenue, but this will improve our economy."

Peter, Salem is hundreds of millions of dollars in the red, and every day we have new deleterious estimates of larger shortfalls. Sir, it's not just Republicans who wince at your Disneyland approach to government, it's the butcher, the baker and the candlestick-maker. It's Joe Six-pack. It's Rosie the Riveter. Mr. B, if you promise to leave us alone, we promise to find employment so that we can give you our revenue.

Look out: Salem is about to pass SB 338 and SB 5562, which is a $177 million infrastructure behemoth in, as Dickens said, "the worst of times."

They call it stimulus. I believe the politicians are finally right. This will surely stimulate a great deal of taxpayer anger.

Recently I was talking to office-based health care professionals Denise, Melanie, Dinny and Stephanie about current events. I asked, "If you were president or secretary of state/defense/treasury for one day, what would you do?" They all said emphatically, "Not vote for the bailout!"

Guess who I'm voting for in 2012.

Joel R. Marks of Medford, a specialty hospital representative for a pharmaceutical company, is a member of the Rogue Valley Transportation District board, the Citizen's Planning Advisory Committee and the Medford Urban Renewal Agency budget committee. His conservative commentary appears in the Mail Tribune the first Sunday of the month.