Letter to the editor: Some deserve cancellation, but not George Gore | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Some deserve cancellation, but not George Gore

Stan Wagon


St. George Gore, namesake of the local range, was not an admirable figure, but it also seems that, in the historical context, he was not evil. Presidents Washington and Lincoln had flaws, and even though they were not evil for their times, their names are being removed from San Francisco schools because they are now considered unworthy. There are some who deserve cancellation, but the three mentioned are not among them.

I do think about one person after whom many locations in the U.S. are named: Wernher von Braun. He joined the Nazi party in 1937 (and later the SS). Perhaps the good he did for our country (he was instrumental in the manned moon project) outweighs the cited memberships. But he also supervised the German V-2 rocket project, which made extensive use of slave labor, and 20,000 were killed. There is a movement to remove his name, and it has my support.

Suppose we learn that Amerigo Vespucci had serious flaws. Do we rename our country? Far-fetched? The city of Berkeley is named for Ireland’s George Berkeley, writer of a poem that pleased the early explorers. He owned and traded in slaves, and there is now a petition to change the city’s name. It won’t happen because the current name has become inextricably linked to the university and the community.

The Gore choice is a historical anomaly, similar to Berkeley. But such long-standing names should not be changed without adequate cause. In some cases (Mount Evans, von Braun) the argument is strong, but I don’t think the Gore case is comparable.




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