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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Changing Names

For John, BLUFMuch of the public agenda is driven by hurt feelings.  I don't care that Pope Pius IX had empathy for Jeff Davis.  Public roads, Federal Highways, named after him are offensive to me.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The Editorial Board of The Washington Post has told us they will no longer be using the name "Red Skins" when referring to the Washington football team—"Washington Post editorials will no longer use ‘Redskins’ for the local NFL team"

That's fine, but it also show misplaced priorities.

As we all know, On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which provided for a Federal City, 10 miles by 10 miles, along the Potomac River.  Surveyor George Washington, who also signed the Residence Act as President, picked the site, just up the river from his Plantation, Mount Vernon.  Part of the property was in Maryland and part in Virginia.  This was all provided for by the US Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, toward the end of the section.

But, then slavery reared its ugly head.  Around 1830, fearful that the US Congress would outlaw slave trading in Alexandria, which Virginia had given up to the Union, Virginia asked for it back.  Finally, on 9 July 1846 the US Congress passed the Retrocession Act.  It was signed by President Polk the next day.  However, Virginia took until 13 March 1847 to accept back the land.

One of the things that strikes me is that US Highway 1, which runs from Key West, Florida, to the US Canadian Border in Maine.

Key West FH000013

Runs through that old area lost to all of us in the Retrocession of 1847. Where US 1 runs through Virginia it is, by state law, called Jefferson Davis Highway.  Including the part that runs through that former part of the District of Columbia.  Jefferson Davis, one of the worst Democrat Presidents in the history of our nation.

So, Virginia honors that man who would have dismembered the Union by naming a stretch of highway designed to unite the Union after him.  Jefferson Davis Highway.

But, that is not the most offensive thing.  One could see President Davis as being, by his own lights and his own time, a Virginia Patriot during the recent unpleasantness, but time tends to change understandings and language.  Today he would be considered a traitor.  In his own time he was indicted on Treason, but spared by a general amnesty from President Johnson on Christmas 1868.

So, here is my charge to The Washington Post, so we can erase this blot from our maps:

  1. Appeal to the People of Virginia to petition their state legislators to erase this offensive naming of US 1, bringing back integrity for the nation and all its Citizens.
  2. Appeal to the US Congress and the Virginia Legislature to restore the 31 square miles taken away from the District of Columbia for reasons having to do with the slave trade.
Times change.  It is time to put this homage to Jefferson Davis behind us and to provide right names for things.

Back to the issue of the name for the Washington football team, I commend to you the article by Dr Charles Krauthammer, "Redskins and reason".  Hail to the Skins.

UPDATE:  Law Professor Ann Althouse suggests "The Washington Redskins need to change their name... to The Washington Posts."

` Regards  —  Cliff

1 comment:

Neal said...

Rest assured, some as yet unborn whelp will, upon his embryonic maturity and discovery of the fine art of political correctness, find some centuries or decades old name, process, or pronouncement that is of such manifest offensiveness that generations long past become culpable if not irrevocably guilty for their crass insensitivity.

Who says one person can't make a difference. In this case, it all began with one little Indian....