Thursday, January 10, 2019

Washington-Loving High School?

Living in Virginia is somewhat bizarre. Unlike our neighbors in Maryland who like to pretend their from the North even though *cough* Mason-Dixon Lind *cough*, we in Virginia know we are part of the South. But in Northern Virginia, we like our Democrats, have turned our state from a swing state to a solid blue state, and we generally adopt progressive policies. So while we have a legacy of being in the South, we govern like our friends in the North.

But still...we are encumbered with reminders of the South all the time. Ed's and my first shared living space was a few blocks away from Jefferson Davis Highway. For real. And pretty much every few blocks there's something named after General Lee or another guy famous for fighting for the South. Partly, it's because Virginia bred a ton of these guys. Partly, it's because after the Civil War ended discontented people were really good at getting major things named for their losing people. I suppose at the time it seemed like a nice gesture from the winners.

Now, amidst a national conversation on race and very painful histories, that gesture doesn't seem too appropriate. And I agree with the folks who think it's time to stop honoring all these folks who advanced terrible positions. Which is how the high school near me got caught up in a name change.

Today, it is called Washington-Lee. Tomorrow, it will likely be called Washington-Loving. What's up with the Loving? It's the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage, and it was brought by Virginians. That feels like a better thing to honor than a commander of the Confederate Army.

Tonight, the school board will vote on whether to follow the committee recommendation and remove Lee from the school's name. No doubt, tomorrow will be filled with Lee apologists, and for years - the school will be called by the wrong moniker.

But, eh? I like the idea of not having Lee's name on a public building a few blocks from my home.