February 6 is Lame Duck Day. The unofficial holiday honors anyone who is on their way out of their jobs or their elected office.
Contrary to popular belief, a lame duck is not an injured or an uncool duck.
Lame duck is a term usually reserved for politics in many democratic countries in the West and in Australia. It refers to a person or a group of people who are nearing the end of their elected term and will not be running for political office again.
Because their time in political office is limited, lame ducks are thought to have a freer hand in making decisions. Studies have shown that elected politicians towards the end of their tenure tend to make risky decisions. This is because they do not need to worry about the political consequences of their actions anymore.
The term lame duck however, originated in a field far from politics. Etymologists trace the first usage of the word to the London Stock Exchange in the 18th century. The term was used to refer to a defaulter - 'someone who couldn't pay his or her debts and then waddled off like a duck'. The usage of the term to refer to an elected official on his or her way out dates back to the late 19th century in the United States.
How to Celebrate
Honor any lame ducks you may have around you. If you personally know of one, throw them a going away party.
If you are in the United States, learn more about the 20th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, also sometimes known as the lame duck amendment.
Did You Know…
…that a group of ducks is called a team or a raft?