[David Kramer outside the 1872 Cafe on 431 W Main Street casting vote in the original ballot box used by Susan B. Anthony in 1872 when she voted, illegally, for Ulysses S. Grant. From At Empire State College, I voted for “?”]
A reader’s proposal regarding autumn holidays.
On Monday, Rochester celebrated its first Indigenous People’s Day, replacing the Christopher Columbus Day holiday, much to the consternation of some. For example, conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry urged his listeners to still use Columbus Day. I offer a modest proposal to resolve this controversy playing out across the nation.
First, eliminate Indigenous People’s Day and Columbus Day as federal, state and local holidays. For example, schools would stay in session. Of course, the days can be unofficially celebrated: on Monday, indigenous tribes planted a symbolic pine tree of peace at Cobb’s Hill and performed traditional dances in the Lake Riley lodge; from 2007 -2010, the Italian Civic League presented Columbus Day parades in downtown Rochester.
Second, make the November election day a national holiday, an overdue change recently introduced to Congress. Election turnout would increase – and the kids would get back their lost vacation day.
I doubt my proposal to make election day a national holiday will be enacted, but it is not without merit. As mentioned, the change was recently introduced in congress and is supported by President Biden. The National Commission on Federal Election Reform called for Election Day to be merged with Veteran’s Day. I spoke with Brighton Town Clerk Daniel Aman about the idea; his office used to help arrange town elections. Dan likes it, especially because no school would free up additional space for voting.
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