Reminiscent of Mao’s Cultural Revolution, America’s present-day leftwing is on the march to expunge any part of the past that may offend its sensitivities. First came the 32-hour sit-in by students at the elite Princeton University to remove any vestige from campus of former University President and later President of the United States Woodrow Wilson. Then came what sounded like an Onion story, but sadly not, when students at Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania asked that Lynch Hall, named after a Clyde Lynch, be renamed not because of anything Clyde Lynch did, but because his name was too similar to the verb “lynching.”
I’m sure dozens of fresh examples of this sort of silliness could be cited, but when it reaches the sports community, my antennae go up as this is the world I reside and work in. A story in this weekend’s sports page that was easily overlooked was that the University of Maryland’s Board of Regents overwhelmingly voted to change the name of Byrd Stadium, home of the University of Maryland Terrapins football team, to the ever catchy Maryland Stadium.
Like Woodrow Wilson, Curley Byrd of the former Byrd Stadium fame would be considered racist by current standards and perhaps even by the standards of his own time. Woodrow Wilson, when he wasn’t out cheerleading ditzy utopian ideas like the League of Nations was enthusiastically screening the The Birth of a Nation, and firing black civil servants at a frantic clip. And although the former football coach and President of the University of Maryland, Curley Byrd, came into prominence much later than Wilson, he advocated segregation for both the University of Maryland’s gridiron and campus.
Two similarities from these stories caught my attention. First, both Wilson and Byrd were prominent Democrats. Wilson was in the not so recent past considered one of the great stalwarts of the Democratic Party, right up there with FDR and JFK, and Byrd ran and lost a Maryland gubernatorial campaign as a Democrat, running on the platform of separate but equal. It seems today’s young Democratic voters, aware of it or not, finds their own legacy repugnant.
Secondly, I’m always struck by how smug and myopic modern activists are when removing historic names from public buildings, especially when it is done in the name of morality. It is easy with a century or two of hindsight to judge and condemn past generations, but really, should our generation stand in judgment of anyone? After all, not only are our leaders grossly unappealing in our present time, they will certainly come off as more horrific to the future generations of Americans, who may well wonder what their great grandparents were thinking when they trod into the voting booth.
But who am I to judge the renaming of public property away from bigwig Democrats? I say if you can’t beat them join them, and why wait 50-100 years to begin this process? In keeping with this movement, I’ve identified my own list of contemporary Democrats that have had public property named for them that shouldn’t. Without further ado:
• Senator Robert Byrd — The Democratic Party always conveniently forgets that this recently departed Senator was a prominent and proud member of the Ku Klux Klan. He also has over 35 public buildings named on his behalf. And who knows how many highways and bridges.
• President Barack Obama — The President has at least 12 public schools and several public streets already named for him. I doubt the future generations (if humanity still exists) will be thrilled about this. After all, it was this President who was the architect of building a pathway for nuclear weapons for the Ayatollah, a sworn enemy of the United States who has vowed to have our country annihilated.
• President William Jefferson Clinton — For his degrading behavior to women and perjury under oath, let us undue the recently named Clinton Building back to its previous name, The Ariel Rios Building. Rios was an ATF officer who had died in the line of duty in 1982.
• Hillary Clinton — Between all the times she has lied under oath and for her handling of Benghazi, we can make a strong moral case that no public property ever be named after her. However, in a quick Internet search I couldn’t find any public buildings named for her, although I did learn an ice cream parlor in New York City named a sundae in her honor. I suggest we commence immediately in calling this sundae something more appropriate, like vanilla.
Future left-wingers, no need to thank me for doing your work for you. It was my pleasure.