Monday, June 22, 2015

A brief anecdote about how dumb The Federalist's Sean Davis is

I know my last thing picked on The Federalist too, but I can't resist responding to this:

A brief anecdote. Just a few years ago, the city council of Harrisonburg, Virginia decided to honor Martin Luther King Jr. by naming something after him. The decision was prompted in part by the dedicated lobbying of several local groups and citizens who ultimately came together as the Harrisonburg Martin Luther King Jr. Way Coalition (HMLKWC).

As the name suggests, HMLKWC specifically aimed to name a road after MLK. But there was, of course, a problem. Anyone even dimly acquainted with local politics in America knows that proposals to name something after MLK, particularly in the South, are typically met with giant tidal waves of outrage from the usual horde of reactionary bigots. This has happened so many times, and so reliably, that we could probably build an entire epistemology around our absolute certainty that it will happen again. That's how much of a thing this is.

In fact, it is such a thing that the HMLKWC deliberately came up with a plan to work around it. Their idea was to pick a street with a name so trivial that no one could possibly claim they had any stake in defending it. Does this answer Davis's question? If you try to rename a Jefferson Davis or Lee Highway after MLK, you will often incite such a massive reaction from crypto-racists and neo-Confederates that your effort will probably fail. Idiots on Free Republic will start stacking city council open mic sessions with deranged right-wing grandpas; gross Twitter nerds will start inventing idiotic pretexts to ridicule you.

And hilariously, even the HMLKWC's conscious, deliberate efforts to avoid controversy failed. They settled on renaming Cantrell Avenue, a road with zero significance that was just a stupid misspelling of "Central", and sure enough, out of the woodwork came all kinds of idiotic dinguses crying about "historical preservation" and the "psychological impact" of renaming Cantrell (LOL, seriously).

That's how dumb Sean Davis is. He is pleading ignorance of an American phenomenon so widespread that people can't even avoid it when they try.