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The Redskins Name Game
Political correctness is divisive and destructive.


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Ben Carson

The audacity of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in canceling the trademark of the Washington Redskins is frightening. When the government is in charge of deciding what is offensive and what is not, and has the power to punish the “offenders,” we move farther away from a free society and closer to a tyrannical nanny state.

We are not talking about a political issue that should have Democrats and Republicans coming down on different sides, but rather the fundamental freedom to express oneself, which is a part of the fabric of America. In the case of Dan Snyder, who owns the Redskins, he is being demonized for standing up for basic American principles. The team bore the same name when he purchased it in good faith. There was no indication at the time that subsequent demands for a name change would emerge, costing him millions of dollars in related expenses, not to mention lawsuits he might encounter by other businesses that could be injured by such a move.

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There is no indication now that many in the Native American community are upset after decades of the team’s prominent and proud display of its mascot and name. This appears to be yet another case of purposefully induced hypersensitivity, providing yet another opportunity for unnecessary heavy-handed government tactics to infringe upon the peaceful existence of Americans.

I have had the pleasure of meeting Snyder, who is far from the demonic characterization seen in the gullible press, which allows itself to be manipulated by those wishing to bring about fundamental change in America. I do not doubt for one minute that the Redskins organization would change the name tomorrow if it thought it was truly offensive to most Native Americans.

Also, the majority of American citizens are still decent people who would not only demand a name change, but would vote with their feet and purses in a way that would send a loud and convincing message — if they thought the name was offensive.

It appears that many have forgotten the power of free-market economic forces and instead have placed their trust in flawed government forces. Historically, individual freedoms vanish as government interventions increase.

Traditionally, sports teams choose mascots and names that bring them pride, rather than shame. There are numerous sports teams throughout the nation with colorful names and symbols, and they are not out to offend anyone. In a large, diverse society, it is likely that almost anything is offensive to someone. I suspect there are those who are offended by the fact that the Duke University basketball team is called the Blue Devils. Some would ridiculously opine that this nomenclature pays homage to the forces of evil. Should we cater to such foolishness, or should we grow up and focus on real issues, such as unacceptable rates of unemployment, terrorism, energy development, education, poverty, a stagnant economy, massive corruption, illegal immigration, growing national debt, and many other things of greater importance?

We, the American people, must cease being distracted by peripheral issues and demand that our government officials focus their attention on the myriad problems that threaten to destroy our way of life. Like the ancient Romans, we are in danger of being distracted by relatively unimportant issues while our society crumbles beneath us. I challenge those who say I am exaggerating to a debate on this issue.

Many people equate political correctness with kind and compassionate speech. The two things are vastly different and have very different purposes. Political correctness is meant to control thought patterns and speech content, creating unanimity and societal conformity, while kind and compassionate speech is meant to take into consideration the feelings and circumstances of others without compromising the truth. It is a much better alternative.

We need to be wary of those who attempt to convince groups of people that they should be offended by a word, phrase, or symbol instead of concentrating on the real message being conveyed. These people remind me of the troublemakers in grade school who enjoyed watching the fallout from their devious ploys.

In today’s politically correct society, we are in danger of extinguishing interpersonal communications altogether for fear of offending someone. All of this would be comically absurd if it were not so tragic and such an immense departure from the ideal of a free and prosperous society that was envisioned by our Founders.

Rather than concentrating on unanimity of thought and speech, we must concentrate on extracting the meaning of verbal communications. Examining every word or phrase for possible offense is beyond stupid. More importantly, it is divisive and destructive. We must outright reject those who try to manipulate emotions for their own political advantage. The Founders of our nation were concerned about what would happen if the populace became uninformed and refused to think for themselves. They feared the day when Americans could be easily led and manipulated, which would lead to a drastic alteration of our nation.

The power to stop the erosion of our values and to restore common sense and prosperity to our nation is in our own hands. We must shake off the passivity and vigilantly guard against manipulation.

— Ben Carson is professor emeritus of neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. © 2014 The Washington Times. Distributed by Creators.com


New Redskins Name
The Patent Office’s recent decision to end trademark protection for the Washington Redskins reignited the controversy over whether the team's name should be changed. Opinions on the matter are divided to say the least. Here’s a look at some snarky takes on the debate and suggestions for new team names and logos as seen on social media.
The inconvenient truth. (Image: Ashley, @truebeachbabe)
The outrage does seem to only flow in one direction. (Image: Brooklyn, @Brookie425)
A good illustration of the level of discourse on the matter. (Image: Mr. Anderson, @harbringer411)
It would be a real presidential legacy for #44. (Image via Twitter)
If they followed the census forms, it would be the “non-Hispanic Whites” (Image: Tim Parent, @timparent)
The team mascot could be a liger. (Image: matt, @mttchvnn)
Guaranteed to succeed with every Democratic interest group. (Image: Facebook/RightWingRantsandRaves)
FLOTUS does insist that everyone eat their vegetables. (Image: Kamz, @TuneInfinity)
Two suggestions, that's almost a trend. Not sure boiled potatoes would be hit at the snack bar come halftime, though. (Image: Michael C. Wells, @OhioBobcatsFan)
The Washington Rattlers might also work. (Image: Bob Wray, @Mach1Broker)
But do they even need helmets? (Image: Carson E. Shultz, @TheRealCDaddy)
Imagine their killer passing attack. (Image: Victoria Vallejo, @VicVejo)
Maybe the cheerleading squad will cheer from their posteriors. (Image: Adam Greene, @TheFirstMan)
Sponsored by the IRS. (Image: Katewerk, @katewerk)
They still wouldn’t be as offensive as the crew that works in that building. (Image: R. Beecher Taylor IV, @_Beecher_)
Not sure if the halftime show would be quite so fabulous, though. (Image: John @JMNuch23)
The fans can chant “Stayin’ Alive” if the team is still behind in the fourth quarter. (Image: Whiteskins.org)
But is it an endangered species? (Image: M.S., @The_Pooka)
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Twitter users had plenty of suggestions for new team names on the hashtag #NewRedskinsName. Here’s a sampling, illustrated by NR.
The Washington Pajamaboys: You don’t even want to know what the cheerleaders look like.
The Washington Monuments: The 1970s Steelers’ Steel Curtain has met its match: A Park Service stop sign.
The Washington Shutdowns: The uniforms are in park ranger green, but the team doesn’t play during November.
Washington Lobbyists: The Thunder from K-Street!
The Washington Reagans: It’s halftime again in America.
The Gridlocks: The only thing that can penetrate this defense is a deep deem-and-pass.
Manifest Destiny’s Child: All the cheerleaders would have to be single ladies.
The Washington Blue Dresses: All the cheerleaders would be named Monica.
The Voxplainin’ Ezras: Most detailed and interesting infographics in the NFL.
The Washington Pigs: The huddles are a bit hard to watch.
Rainbowskins: It’s time to take refracted light back from the gay rights lobby.
Updated: Jun. 23, 2014

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