Che Chic, Ever and Always

by Jay Nordlinger

On the homepage today, John Fund writes of what the Environmental Protection Agency, or someone there, did for “Hispanic Heritage Month”: He, she, or they sent out an e-mail with the “iconic photo” of Che Guevara and “Hasta la victoria siempre.” That was one of those Communist slogans of the period. Another was “Venceremos.” Remember Susan Rosenberg, the Weather Underground terrorist whose sentence Clinton commuted in the last hours of his presidency? She used to sign her letters from prison “Venceremos, Susan.” I’ve always loved that (sort of). (For a piece I did on Clinton and Rosenberg, go here.)

Anyway, John’s piece gave me a memory. Almost ten years ago, some friends of mine were ticked at something a branch of our government had done. The branch was the National Institutes of Health. What they had done was describe Guevara, that old butcher, as an “Argentine physician and freedom fighter.” That’s what it said on their website. As I bet you know, Guevara was a freedom fighter like Lenin, Castro, and Pol Pot were. (For my piece “Che Chic: It’s très disgusting,” go here.)

John’s piece made me go, “Hmmm — I wonder whether the NIH still describes Guevara as a freedom fighter.” I went to the relevant site — and found “Argentine physician and revolutionary.”

An improvement. Still not great — George frickin’ Washington was a revolutionary too — but an improvement.

P.S. Why is there a “Hispanic Heritage Month”? Can’t we be Americans and be done with this malarkey? (I hope readers appreciate the way I class up my language for the Corner. In my column, Impromptus, it’s often a speck looser.)

P.P.S. Shouldn’t people, in America and around the world, be able to rely on the U.S. government to be anti-totalitarian? I mean, has any government agency ever honored John Locke? Why does it have to be Che Guevara?

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