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Thursday, March 30, 2023
FairfaxOpinionEditorial: Renaming proposals intellectually puzzling

Editorial: Renaming proposals intellectually puzzling

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The Politburo of the old Soviet Union was known for its soulless, grim determination to rubber-stamp verdicts that had been preordained by the powers that be. Or face the consequences.

We’re not saying that an equivalent situation existed with the committee empaneled by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to cleanse the nomenclature of supervisor districts. We’d never use that comparison.
Nope, not us.

Perhaps to the surprise of virtually nobody, the body recommended that Lee District be renamed, even though it could find no conclusive proof that the name had anything actually to do with Robert E. Lee. Merely having a name that people assume was connected with the Confederate general was one of the reasons for seeking removal. (“Close enough for government work,” we suppose.)

Sully District has been goose-stepped toward eradication because it bears the name of a plantation house that has connections to slavery, although for whatever reason, Mount Vernon District was not similarly placed on the chopping block. Perplexing, assuming one expected a degree of intellectual consistency in the recommendations. Our best guess: The panel, in a bit of political hackery, didn’t want to propose that the plantation home of the venerated George Washington be put on the plate of supervisors, so as to not subject them to the derision of common-sense folks who think this all is going a bit too far.

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We have opined before on this page that, frankly, we don’t care whether names change or don’t change, and would be just as fine with using numbers to designate the supervisor districts. If it works for the U.S. House of Representatives and Virginia General Assembly, it would be good enough for Fairfax County.

No, it’s not the renaming that causes us pause, but the sanctimonious hauteur that underpinned this entire initiative from start to what will be its eventual finish.

That said, we can’t wait to see what names as alternates supervisors come up with. The phrase “a camel is a horse designed by committee” is an insult to that noble beast of burden, the dromedary, so we won’t make that comparison. But we eagerly await proposals for new names virtually guaranteed to be banal, insipid and fatuous.

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