There is a long human tradition of celebrating the lives of great men by naming buildings and institutions after them. Men that were consequential to their age — or a later one, for that matter — are memorialized by their progeny and held out as the pinnacle of human achievement. Brave, heroic, intelligent, leaders of men, father’s of their people or their field of study, such men are the stuff of legend and societal memory. Memorializing them brings social continuity and gives current generations an ideal model to emulate.
And so, in light of this, we most often wait until someone has actually achieved something before we name a school after them. After all, it’s only fair that we insist that future generations venerate a man that has actually done something exceptional with the end product of their lives, lest the whole exercise seem somewhat hollow.
Sadly, with the coming of Barack Obama, it now seems that hundreds of years of tradition concerning meritorious service has today been unceremoniously cast aside. Apparently, all one need do now for solemn devotion to be lavished upon him is to get elected. A mere election obliviously fosters instant veneration and now presumed excellence can be achieved without all that messy business of having to earn it. Yes, just winning a single election is cause enough to rename schools and streets for Barack Hussein Obama.
Now, I am absolutely not saying that Obama will never deserve this veneration. For all I know standing at one week into his administration, he may end up as one of the greatest of the greats. But as things stand right now, all he did was get elected and that is not enough reason to begin renaming schools and streets in his honor — even temporarily.
It must be remembered that Nixon was successfully elected. So was George W. Bush. In fact, twice each. Are these same sycophantic Obama lovers saying that these two previous presidents achieved as much as Obama? Somehow, I doubt that they would.
To be sure, Obama’s achievement as the first black president is a milestone event. It signifies much about our country; where its been, how far it has come, and where it might now go. But, while that is quite a thing, it does not yet mark Barack Obama as wholly worthy of the instant veneration with which he has been lavished.
There is one other major problem with naming schools after Barack Obama, a public servant not only just starting his life as a young man, but one that has yet to do anything worthy of the honor. There is a second major problem with naming a school after him…
It’s simply unAmerican.
Think about it. We name buildings and schools after men that gave their lives in service to their country. Men that stepped forward, earned their place in history and faded from the scene with the grateful feelings of their countrymen. We in the west have for several hundred years awarded such honors generally to the accomplished.
But, previous to the meritorious era of democracy there was another method of honoring those who stand above us though it wasn’t always because such honorees earned the praise. It was usually because they wielded supreme power. Kings, despots and Pharaohs renamed things for themselves to remind their people of the power they lorded over the commoners. Kings, despots and Pharaohs renamed things for themselves, in their own lifetimes, unbidden by the people. They did this out of a megalomania that we no longer venerate.
No, today, leaders must earn the respect of their fellow countrymen to have such honorifics bestowed upon them. If they do not earn it, the exercise is meaningless, sniggered at, not earned. Just ask William C. Byrd or Ted Stevens.
And that leads us back to how naming a school after Barack Obama is unAmerican. You see, Obama is no Pharaoh, not King and he has not yet earned those honorifics. To give him the honor is premature and undeserved. And no one in America deserves overweening fealty from the people without having done a thing to deserve it.
There may be a day when Barack Obama truly deserves the adulation. But today is not that day. So let’s stop this foolishness or renaming streets and schools after president Obama. Let’s settle back and wait until he actually does something to earn the honor.