Opinion: Offensive mascots mayhem, a discretionary way to help pay for SROs, obit observation

Jay Greeson cropped

So George Washington University is making a change. The school, named for someone I think was kind of important in our history, has announced it will change the name of its mascot.

In the next year or so, GWU will drop the "Colonials" mascot. A new name has not been announced.

(Side note: Here's hoping GWU is better prepared for this decision than the Washington Commanders were or especially the Cleveland Guardians were, since Cleveland picked the name of a small Cleveland roller derby crew and had to settle a sealed lawsuit for the copyright violations.)

GWU has been itching to change the name for more than a few years, citing a historical system of oppression associated with colonialism. Still, here in America, didn't George Washington, you know, lead the "colonials" to freedom from oppression from the English?

So Colonials, especially in relation to George Washington, is offensive to whom, exactly? Has anyone ever seen a protest outside a GW game? Or are these the internal questions posed in a college environment of social wokeness?

Here's the wording of the original petition circulated on campus in 2018 - which was passed by the student body with a 54% yes vote - to change the Colonials name: "We, as students, faculty and staff of the George Washington University, believe it is of great exigence that the university changes the official nickname for its affiliates. The use of 'Colonials,' no matter how innocent the intention, is received as extremely offensive by not only affiliates of the university, but the nation and world at large. The historically, negatively charged figure of Colonials has too deep a connection to colonization and glorifies the act of systemic oppression."

Hmmmmm, whoever wrote that a) had a really rough time in high school and b) is great at Scrabble.

The world at large is going to take note of this proactive move for equality in where? The mascot realm? Really?

But if we're going to switch names that could be offensive to one group or another, I wonder if Arizona State Sun Devils or Duke Blue Devils are overly concerned about the thoughts of Christians. Shouldn't both schools consider changing their mascots, which clearly glorify Satan?

Great idea made better

So the Hamilton County Schools system is going to pony up $950,000 to make sure every school in the district has a school resource officer or security officer.

I think that is smart. And money well spent.

Here's an idea: the next time those slush-fund hounds on the Hamilton County Commission try to restart the discussion for the six-figure discretionary funds they have been trying to finagle for years, let's push all that money to this idea. Heck, let's do it now.

Then we don't have to worry about some commissioner trying to tell us how good a cause this is or how important that park bench with the commissioner's name on it will be every time future voters come calling for a piece of the $100K discretionary pie.

Commit that money - currently, nine commissioners at $100,000 each is $900,000, but with two new seats coming, this covers the school resource officers with some wiggle room - right now, and take the knowledge that you are helping every kid and every parent feel safer.

In every district.

Obit observation

We are a nation starved for leadership. It has been that way for a while, and that void got deeper earlier this month, whether you knew it or not.

Because whether you knew Gerald Wilson or not, his death on June 2 took from Red Bank in particular and Hamilton County in general a person who was always willing to help, always willing to volunteer and always willing to lead those causes that so many count on but to which so few contribute.

He was a decorated soldier and long-time employee at Combustion Engineering, where he was the chairman of the United Fund and the Safety and the Machinist Apprentice committees. But the non-paying jobs he did in his community weave a tapestry of service.

He was a long-time coach in and the president of the old-school Knot Hole Baseball League. He coached and worked in the GALS softball association. He was a former president of the Red Bank Seniors On the Go.

Thank you, Gerald. You and your get-involved spirit will be missed.

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6273. Follow him on Twitter @jgreesontfp.

photo Jay Greeson