With millions mired in poverty and the world blowing up around us, it is gratifying to see certain federal politicians so concerned about a football team’s mascot.
Senator Harry Reid can’t sleep at night, so distraught is he about the Washington Redskins.
Whisperin’ Harry says he’s going to boycott their games. Atta boy, Harry -- that’ll show ‘em.
Also, the U.S. Patent Office has canceled the Redskins trademark. Since the team is based in D.C., a more appropriate name might be the “Washington Dunces.”
Since I’m not an Indian, I don’t know that I’m qualified to judge whether the term “redskins” is offensive or not. My wife, who’s Cherokee, says it doesn’t bother her.
But I do know this: when we start climbing the slope of political correctness, the going quickly becomes slippery.
Why stop with banning Indians as mascots? Some feel that paying homage to the Southern Confederacy is a no-no. Ole Miss was forced to put Colonel Reb out to pasture, and my alma mater, Belmont University, caved several years ago and changed its sports nickname from Rebels to Bruins.
I’m surprised that MTSU’s “Blue Raiders” moniker has survived the PC onslaught. The nickname honors Confederate cavalrymen who raided the ranks of blue-clad Yankee invaders during the Civil War, including a particularly-testy engagement in the streets of Murfreesboro led by Nathan Bedford Forrest -- the ultimate Blue Raider.
Other sports nicknames are deemed too “militaristic” in these touchy-feely times. Take Tennessee Volunteers, for example. Those fierce frontier militiamen didn’t volunteer for the Peace Corps. They were spoiling for a fight, and -- gasp! -- they carried unregistered firearms.
How about Trojans, Titans, Spartans and Vikings? The latter were particularly vicious and blood-thirsty. When Vikings raided a defenseless hamlet they did things that would give Jack the Ripper nightmares. Better look out Minnesota -- you may be next on Harry’s NFL hit list because of your homage to rapists, pillagers and mass murderers.
Which brings us back to Reid’s Redskins rant: when you consider all the troubles that today’s Native Americans face -- from abject poverty to rampant alcoholism -- it’s farcical to see him obsessing over a sports team mascot.
If Whisperin’ Harry really wants to help, he should volunteer as a substance-abuse counselor on some destitute reservation that Reid’s Washington ilk created.
Of course, that would require getting his hands dirty. It’s much easier to sit in a palatial D.C. office and whine about a football team’s nickname.
Did the Indians get a raw deal? Sure they did. But so have lots of others down through our tumultuous history. It was a rough, rugged and raw process and it’s difficult to view it objectively through a modern lens.
For those who complain about Europeans “stealing” the natives’ land, here’s a suggestion: they can contact their local Indian agency -- there’s one in every state -- and deed their real estate over to the Indians.
If they believe they are in possession of stolen property, they should return it to the rightful owners.
Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the PC police to mount an offensive against re-runs of the Beverly Hillbillies. “Hillbillies” is a derogatory term, and the TV show pokes fun at unlettered mountain folks and reinforces negative Southern stereotypes.
Granny and Jethro need you, Harry.