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A Fight over History
William McKinley, Republican Visionary
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  • Nevis07

    I have no problem with calling it Denali. If you’ve ever the chance to see it, it’s an amazing sight and we owe it to the Native American population to honor their memories. Of all the minority communities in this country, probably the least well off by far – even compared to the African American community – is the Native American’s, who’ve had a pretty bad deal.

    Just don’t ask me to be okay with naming a mountain after Obama…

    • Cohomology

      except few tourists, everyone in Alaska called it Denali anyway.
      I think Ohio should retrospectively change McKinley’s name to Willian Denali. That’d show them.

  • rheddles

    the modern economy faces a wholly different set of challenges from the ones it faced at the dawn of the Progressive Era

    Aside from the fact that we are being crucified on a cross of paper (or electrons) instead of gold and we are the hegemon, not Great Britain, I’m not sure things are so different.

    And I sure don’t recall the stable industrial prosperity and mass consumption in the New Deal. After we were the only country not destroyed by WWII, sure, but during the depression, really?

  • J K Brown

    Yeah, but the naming of the mountain after McKinley was more along the lines of Obama’s Nobel Peace prize; purely politics.

    I fall back on this observation by a late 19th century writer when it comes to accolades for politicians:

    For example : The question being propounded, What is the value of the combined services to man of Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, as compared with those of Sir Henry Bessemer? Ninety-nine out of a hundred men of sound judgment would doubtless say, ” The value of the services of the two statesmen is quite unimportant, while the value of the services of Mr. Bessemer is enormous, incalculable.” But how many of these ninety-nine men of sound judgment could resist the fascination of the applause accorded to the statesmen ? How many of them would have the moral courage to educate their sons for the career of Mr. Bessemer instead of for the career of Mr. Disraeli or of Mr. Gladstone?* Not many in the present state of public sentiment. It will be a great day for man, the day that ushers in the dawn of more sober views of life, the day that inaugurates the era of the mastership of things in the place of the mastership of words.

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  • Episteme

    This whole story has been a situation where the media has been misreporting Obama’s role, the President been taking credit for something that he didn’t do (because the timing was right), and conservatives have ranting against a good thing because they dislike a bad thing. I call the entire episode “The Boy Who Cried Pen & Phone.”

    Since 1975, Alaska has in-state referred to the mountain as Denali and asked the National Park Service to change the name (NPS has, since 1947 had the authority on naming locations in national parks, but the states the parks are in have veto rights). Mt. McKinley, of course had been named Denali is both the native languages and Russian translation prior to 1917, when Woodrow Wilson signed the “Mount McKinley National Park” legislation (the name originates from a Washington State prospector in 1896 during the gold rush, who ‘named’ the mountain for the then-GOP candidate). As you note, Ohio was protective of the McKinley name, so Rep. Ralph Regula ([R]in Congress 1973-2009) introduced a bill to add language in the Department of the Interior authorization in 1975 stripping NPS of the ability to rename Mt. McKinley. For the remainder of his career, Regula reintroduced that bill to each biennial authorization bill (I checked the record and could track the identical language over twenty sessions) – and when he retired, other representatives from Ohio continued to introduce the same language.

    Delays in authorization of the Department of the Interior in the latest Congress, delays caused by Republicans no less, left an opening whereby Senator Lisa Murkowski [R] introduced the officially petition this past January to NPS to change the name of Mt. McKinley in the National Park to Denali (the bills in the authorization language have always specified the mountain itself; the National Park itself was renamed Denali National Park back in 1980). NPS made the decision, signed off by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and by the State of Alaska – all technically while the Ohio language was lapsed (for forty years, this block on naming had been a call-to-arms within Alaska). Of course, with Obama coming to Alaska for his 2015 Glacier Selfie Tour, he made sure to counter-sign the orders right in time for the trip and claim all the credit of forty years of debate and eight months of paperwork! Consequently, all the bad-faith pork barrel-style anti-federalist nonsense over the decades from Ohio gets swept under the table and the same folks who push those authorizations through for years get to write op-eds about Obama opposing state sovereignty. The President just posed with a pen and, like too many managers, claimed credit for the good work of people working for him (and the work that those people brokered with others), but getting the McKinley/Denali matter squared away isn’t Obamacare – hell, it’s not even the actual NPS problems during the shutdown – and having writers go ballistic about it without doing the research on the process or history makes light of the real issues that “The Boy Who Cried Pen & Phone” causes…

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