Wednesday, June 20, 2018

J.E.B. who? It’s now going to be Obama Elementary in Richmond

It’s not new, or particularly newsworthy, that yet another school somewhere in the country has chosen to name itself after the nation’s 44th president. Heck, there are some 44 schools that already bear the moniker of Barack Obama.

OBAMA: Now has a Richmond school in memory
Yet most of those were new school buildings erected in recent years, and often in places where the locals never would have put the name symbolizing the Confederacy of old on a public structure.

WHICH IS WHAT makes the newly-named Barack Obama Elementary School in Richmond, Va. – named for our very own community organizer-turned-U.S. president, all the more unique.

For until now, the school had bore the name of J.E.B. Stuart – who didn’t even live to see the end of the Civil War, but during the conflict between the states was regarded by southern interests as a skilled horseman and cavalry officer and one of the supreme military officials of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Of course, to everybody else, J.E.B. was just some ol’ white guy who once had the nerve to take up arms against the United States. An act of treason, if you want to be literal about it.

All because he wanted to reinforce the “way of life” that the South always proclaimed – the one that kept non-white people in a status of second-class citizenship. As in the South wanted them counted in the population to boost their total but wasn’t about to give them the same rights of white people.

BUT THERE WERE those who subscribed to the theory of “the lost cause” when thinking of the Civil War who were determined to pay tribute to every possible Confederate figure to try to glorify why they fought against the United States.

So the idea that J.E.B. Stuart could get a school named for him? Have generations of children thinking of him as a figure worthy of respect? I’m sure some would argue it no more ridiculous that I went to elementary schools in the Chicago area named for generals George S. Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But times truly are changing. No matter how much some want to think this Age of Trump offers credibility to their cause, it seems the day will come when we can dump the Confederacy glorification.

STUART: Now just a figure of the past
We now pay tribute at this Richmond school to the first non-white man to become U.S. president – a concept that I’m sure infuriates the Confederacy-backers and probably has them backing Donald Trump’s actions in large part because they seem determined to erase the memory of Obama’s presidential actions.

BUT MAYBE IT’S just the evidence that the Obama legacy just can’t be erased – and that the Trump presidential legacy ultimately is determined to be his failure to undo the actions of recent decades. No matter how much he tries.

Personally, I find the idea that a Richmond high school is making such a gesture. For that Virginia city once served as the capital during those four years the Confederate states tried declaring themselves to be an independent nation.

Now, of course, Richmond is nothing more than a state capital for Virginia – no more important on the national political scene than Springfield, Ill. Our very own state capital city that gave us the figure of Abraham Lincoln.

Who lives on bigger than any of those grey-clad Confederates who touted the concept of ‘states rights’ not so much because they wanted separate nation-states but because they didn’t want anybody else interfering with their ability to back certain acts of immorality with the rule of law.

TO THE PEOPLE who still, to this day, try to justify the Confederacy, I’m sure the idea of an Obama School in Richmond is the equivalent of phlegm being hocked into their collective face.

Do we need more Lincoln Schools in South
But to the vast majority of us, it’s a sign that we’re finally, long-overdue, ready to move on from the mess that bogged down our nation some 150-plus years ago, and which some continued to tried to fight for during the following century-and-a-half.

Besides, just think of the mental chaos to be created for future generations who try to justify Confederate rhetoric while explaining the existence of Obama School.

While the memory of James Ewell Brown Stuart fades further into the past. Seriously, with all those names, it’s no wonder people just called him “Jeb.”


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