Political but Not Correct

Bill Neinast


Misnomer means “an inappropriate name.” Most often, however, it is used to mean “a popular misconception.”

Under either interpretation or usage, the most frequently used misnomer is “politically correct” or “political correctness.”

All politically correct actions are political, but they are rarely correct.  They are taken to satisfy some small constituency or radical idea for purely political reasons.

The best recent example of this phenomenon is Houston Independent School District’s move to change the names of its schools that are named after Confederate Army generals.

Typically in such cases of political correctness, this action ignores or forgets all but a tiny part of relevant facts.

Consider, for example,  General Robert E. Lee, one of the generals for whom a Houston school is named.  His name is to be banished from the schools because he fought for the Confederacy in a war between two factions of states of the USA. (It was not a civil war because it was fought  not to oust a government but to establish another independent sovereign country.) 

Those on the politically correct side of this argument say that Lee has to go because he fought to preserve slavery.  As usual in many of these cases, that argument ignores history.

Read a little about Lee.  He is recognized in military circles as one of the more brilliant generals of history.  He resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to fight with the confederacy because of his belief in states’ rights. 

Rarely known, or often forgotten, however, is that Lee freed the slaves on his Arlington plantation on December 29, 1862. This was 27 months before the end of the so-called Civil War.

Those slaves, by the way, were brought to Arlington plantation by George Washington Parke Custis, the step-grandson and adopted son of George Washington.   They had been owned by the so-called Father Of Our Country, a major slave owner of his time.

So, if this political correctness to rewrite history so that some sensitive souls will not have to be reminded of slavery, should the name Washington be dropped from every nook and cranny of the nation? 

How about Jefferson?  President Thomas Jefferson was a big slave holder and fathered a son with one of his female slaves.  Does his name need to be removed from history also?

That beautiful mansion on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery was designated by Congress as Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial.  Does that have to go too? 

If this foolishness to abolish anything memorializing General Lee and others who fought in the Confederate Army continues, what is to be done with Fort Hood, Texas?  

Based on troop strength, this is the largest military post in the free world.  It memorializes Hood’s Texas Brigade  organized on October 22, 1861, in Richmond, Virginia.   

The brigade was composed of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Texas Infantry regiments that included the only Texas troops to fight in the Eastern Theater.

On March 7, 1862, Colonel John Bell Hood was promoted to brigadier general and placed in command. Because of his daring leadership the brigade became known as Hood's Texas Brigade. 

The brigade served throughout the war in Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia. It participated in at least twenty-four battles in 1862, including Eltham's Landing, Gaines' Mill, Second Manassas, Sharpsburg, Antietam, and took part in the battle of Gettysburg.  In the battle of the Wilderness, General Lee personally led the Texans in one of the charges.

If Fort Hood has to go, what about Fort Bragg, another major military installation in this country?   This post is named after Braxton Bragg, another famous general of the Confederate Army who also served as the military advisor to Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederacy.

How can the name of this post be allowed to remain a blot on the history of the nation? Keeping it around might upset a few sensitive souls who do not want to hear that slaves were once common in this country

If Hood and Bragg have to go, what about Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.  That is the oldest permanent army post West of the Mississippi.

Can that name be tolerated any longer?  It is named after Sam Houston who captured Santa Anna, the President of Mexico,  and wrested a huge chunk of land away from him.  That must be upsetting to some Mexicans who look at this rich state and think it would still be part of their Mexico but for that anarchist Sam Houston.

So here’s the perspective.

There is nothing correct about political correctness.  A more accurate term would be political idiocy.

To keep small vocal groups happy, reams of history have to be rewritten, discarded, or forgotten. 

Then we will start repeating what has been forgotten.  Do we want to go there?


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