Lame Duck Day

The Lame Duck Day is a celebration of the ratification of the 20th amendment of the United States on February 6, 1933. The amendment was added to address US Presidential succession.

Originally, the terms of the president and vice president, and the in-coming elected congress began on four months after elections were held. This lapse was a practical necessity during the 18th century. Since a newly-elected official might require several months to put his affairs in order and then undertake an arduous journey. This gap eventually had the effect of impeding the function of government in the modern age and thus the creation of the amendment.

rubber duck

Now Lame Duck Day is being celebrated worldwide every 6th of February annually. It is also celebrated to recognize those people whose position is about to run out even if they aren’t highly elected officials.

The term “Lame Duck” is usually reserved for politics in many democratic countries in the West and in Australia. It refers to a person or group who are approaching the end of their elected term and will not be running for politics again.

The Lame Duck can be an elected official who is nearing the end of his term and his successor has already been elected or if the politician was not re-elected or is no longer eligible for re-election so they no longer have to concern themselves with the desires of their constituents. It can also be a politician who lost in the elections but must remain in the office until his tenure is finished.

The term is now being used not only for politicians but for people in general whose term was about to end. It can be a teacher, office worker or manager who is about to retire and still working until his retirement day.

The phrase Lame Duck was coined far from politics in the 18th century. Etymologists trace the first usage of the word in the 1700’s to the London Stock Exchange. The term was used to refer to a person who could not pay his debts and will waddle off like a duck. But the usage of the term to refer to an elected official who is about to end a term dates back to the late 19th century in the United States.

Lame Duck officials tend to have less political power than other elected officials are less inclined to work with them. Their time in political office is limited so they are thought to have a freer hand in making decisions to issue unpopular decisions and appointments. Studies have shown that elected politicians towards the end of their tenure tend to make risky decisions because they do not have to worry about facing the political consequences of their actions anymore.

It is important to pay attention to the period following a re-election, a choice to retire, or when their office has been eliminated because it is the time where a person can most clearly show their true colors. If they remain true to their professed principles during this period, most likely that they will stay true to their constituents or co-workers until the end of their term.

The Lame Duck Day might seem a bit bitter since it is celebrating the end of anyone’s term in work. But some people are actually positive towards it since it closes a door and they believe that a window will open for them. They are waiting for creating another chapter in their life and anticipating what will be ahead of them. So, if you know any lame ducks around you, it is best to throw them a going away party as a celebration.