By Bob Kinsey
Mt. Denali = Good. Mt. McKinley = bad. The name, Mt. McKinley just celebrates a President who began a war with Philippine Freedom Fighters and bent a war allied with Cuban Freedom fighters to the establishment of a “Protectorate” over them, the Manifest Destiny Imperial crowd that even the Progressive but Social Darwinist President TR joined as he sent the Great White Fleet around the globe. This is a dark strand in the history of the US and its so-called commitment to the idea that all humans should be free and have natural rights to life, liberty and property (pursuit of happiness). This dark strand is racist and militarist (US Navy push for “coaling stations” in the Pacific, overly proud of its so called Western “Civilization”– in the name of which President McKinley went on his knees in prayer and learned from the Almighty that he should take the Philippines and “civilize them”(having to water board them first). Just so did President Truman “Thank God” for giving us the Atomic bomb shortly after he used it (of course, to save lives –really?).
The blindness of so called Progressive Republicans and Democrats to this underlying history of unjust conquest and dominance, racism and militarism, is nearly ubiquitous as none will dare to challenge the mindless, a-historical promulgation of the myths by such groups as the American Legion, VFW, and NRA who cannot endure the shame they must face in this history. More recently AIPAC joined in self righteous conquest of land and the killing of Palestinians in the name of self defense, (though they include a large body of conquest in that Zionist definition of “self”) including the right to disobey international law and the Non Proliferation Treaty. And the US supported all this with arms sales and transfers as well as international cover as our “Friend”. So much for the self determination of people.
PNAC (Project for a New American Century) finds its roots in this dark strand of history that funded and armed the genocide of Mayans in Guatemala, the Contra War in Nicaragua, the death squads and assassination of Archbishop Romero in El Salvador, the genocide in East Timor, all in the name of fighting for their proclaimed God ordained Capitalism vs. “godless” Communism. This dark strand was rooted in the Machiavellian strand of the Renaissance– a justification of the rule of the Borgias and the Medici by force and fear. Mr. Cheney — war criminal — reads “The Prince” as a New Years ritual. Mr. Trump’s bombast about making America great again is the redneck version.
We cannot be offended by the facts of our history–our military/imperial/economic history. Yes it involves enduring some shame but there is more honor in correcting our errors as much as possible than in denying and continuing them. It’ s time to change the name of Mt. Evans to Mt. Soule in Colorado, as Gov. Evans was an exterminationist empire builder who set Col. Chivington on a band of submissive Cheyenne and Arapaho at Sand Creek. Take down the war memorials celebrating the victories in this imperial strand of US history. Sure mourn the deaths of those who were ignorant of the land speculators’/investment bankers motives and called to military service under false pretenses, but lets honor the likes of Lincoln who voted against the Mexican War of conquest, and Silas Soule who blew the whistle on Chivington as a bald faced liar bent upon destruction of Indians who tried to defend land and way of life, or Samuel Clemens and the anti-Imperialist league in the Congress. Stop honoring President Reagan for his illegal and immoral foreign policy because it “won the Cold War”. Like Cheney he never showed up on the front lines but was happy to praise the dead as heroes and damn the “enemy” dead (mostly all civilian) as evil empire Communists. Reagan National Airport, Reagan this, Reagan that.
Self-righteousness is so much more comfortable than confession and repentance. Have we no shame? Well, its hard when we won’t face facts or teach them to our children. Shame on those Christian Churches who join in the self-righeous self-congratulatory acts of the past (remember how those “Christians” justified the institution of slavery in the early 19th Century? –and weep.) They were willing to spill the blood of countless brothers in the Civil War. They are the same type who are upset about renaming Mt. McKinley or telling the truth about the Enola Gay.