Disclaimer: This post doesn’t really have anything to do with my college experience; rather, it’s just a bit of righteous right-wing indignation at something that happened in the news recently. You can tell it’s something I’m really angry about because the new Metal Gear Solid game came out today, and I’m using my free time to write this instead of playing it.
Coming from Arizona as I do, I’d be remiss if I wasn’t familiar with one of our nation’s greatest natural landmarks. It would also be expected of me to be incredibly bored by it. That’s why I tend to gravitate toward liking landmarks that are more foreign to me, such as Yellowstone, Niagara Falls, that landfill in New Mexico filled with cartridges of the ET game for the 2600, and, above all (literally speaking), Mt. McKinley. Or Mt. Denali?
I guess I’m just not sure why, exactly, our
fearless leader Commander-in-chief president felt the need to further bury our past and apologize for anything that may have happened therein. Recently, of course, he did the same thing with the Confederate flag, which apparently is more of a symbol of slavery than, say, the Pyramids of Giza … or our entire railroad system … or basically anything else in history that actually involved slaves. I hate to break it to you, but the Confederate flag isn’t a symbol of slavery. In just the same way that Mt. McKinley isn’t, either.
This having been said, I’m not really that angry about this one. It’s a mountain, and from what I can glean President McKinley didn’t really have anything to do with it. But I just don’t like what the past few months’ occurrences mean for our future. I worry that, soon enough, anything named after a straight white male or anything else that might make someone uncomfortable will have to be changed. In Arizona we’ve already seen that happen with Squaw, er, Piestewa Peak. These things seem dangerously similar to what Bradbury writes about in his excellent Fahrenheit 451:
Bigger the population, the more minorities. Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere. The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy, remember that!… Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did.
Sure, we’ve not gotten to the point where we’re locking up authors, but it’s not so far-fetched to imagine the names of more things being changed. If we follow the McKinley pattern, we’re going to have to change the names of anything named after white people, including, but not limited to: Washington, Virginia, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana … the list goes on. I guess my point here is, we’re going to have to draw the line somewhere. If we didn’t draw it at the Confederate flag, and we’re not drawing it at Denali, where are we going to draw it? Obama still has another year and a half left in office, and in that time he can do some serious damage. Let’s not let him.