Saturday, August 23, 2003

P.C. history repeats: First Miami, then Anderson



Peter Bronson

Now that Anderson High School officials have killed their own mascot, I suggest a new one: A potato. That way they can remain Redskins, and nobody will be offended.

On the other hand, practically nobody was offended by the old Indian mascot.

The student who wants to wear the mascot outfit, Stacy Stahl, 16, is a Native American with Inca ancestors.

The community certainly was not offended. The school board was forced to retreat and drop plans to change the name a few years ago, when irate citizens rallied to "Save Our Redskins" like the home team at Little Big Horn.

So school officials called a quarterback sneak from the Politically Correct Playbook. They ignored the public and took a quick vote before opposition could organize.

Anderson High School Principal Mike Hall, who was soon to retire, quietly dumped the mascot at the urging of a diversity committee. School administrators asked the board and a majority voted, 3-2, to do to the mascot what Geronimo did to lost wagon trains.

There's a name for public officials who inflict their own unpopular opinions on the public: liberals.

Affirmative action, abortion, gay marriage, attacks on religion - none could survive if they were put to a vote. So the left subverts the will of the people through the courts, while claiming to be the "Democratic" Party.

Brad Beckett calls them "the Compassion Fascists."

He led the crusade to save the Redskins at Miami University in 1993 as president of the Miami College Republicans.

"What's going on in Anderson is a similar thing on a smaller scale," he said.

In 1993, Miami President Paul Risser organized an open forum to address complaints about the Redskins name from faculty members and others. Beckett, who now works for Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority, said opposition quickly organized.

"We took our 'Save the Redskins' banner to football games and every time we showed it, there were cheers." He says he's sure the majority of students, alumni and taxpayers strongly opposed a name change.

"We prevailed, and they did not change the mascot."

But then in 1997, new Miami President James Garland pushed a vote through the board of trustees with little debate, and the name was dropped. It was eventually replaced with RedHawks.

"There are professional folks who go around the country whipping up political correctness," Beckett said. "It was swift and silent."

The irony, he said, is that such PC name changes actually sanitize the past and hide the truth about the role played by American Indians in our nation's history.

"The mascot we had was not something to be made fun of. It was a proud warrior," Beckett said.

Stacey Stahl is making the same point to the Forest Hills School Board - but they're not listening. So now voters are on the warpath, organizing a recall of board members who ignored the will of the people.

Stahl said the recall "is a reflection of the anger in the community and I do not think the school board realizes the irritation over their decision."

I think they said the same thing about Custer.

E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.




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