Restored, not renamed
Sept. 7, 2015
by Ivan Raconteur

It seems every time I watch or read the national news, it makes me want to take a shower.

The filthy slime of partisan politics oozes into everything these days, and even brief exposure makes me feel dirty.

It was announced last week that the name of North America’s highest peak was being restored to Denali, after having been changed years ago to Mt. McKinley (after the former president from Ohio) during a presidential campaign.

This should have been a cause for celebration.

Alaskans have long known the peak as Denali, which is its name in the local Koyukon Athabascan language.

The State of Alaska formally changed the name of the mountain to Denali in 1980 when the 6 million-acre Denali National Park and Preserve, which surrounds the mountain, was created.

However, the federal government did not make the change.

Alaskans have been fighting to have the name restored to Denali for decades, but Ohio politicians have been blocking their efforts with political games.

The mountain’s name was changed to McKinley in 1896, when William McKinley was nominated for president.

McKinley never even visited Alaska, and had no connections to the state.

And yet, Ohio politicians got their knickers in a twist any time the subject of restoring the name of the mountain to Denali came up.

Now that the name has been restored, it would be nice if the Ohioans would find a hill in their own state that would form a suitable monument to their beloved former president.

Of course, they won’t. Instead, they will take every opportunity to whine to anyone who will listen about how the move was disrespectful to their boy.

They don’t seem nearly so worried about respecting the wishes of the people of Alaska, who have called the mountain Denali for ages.

It has significant cultural importance to Alaskans, and that has nothing at all to do with a politician from Ohio.

I find it interesting that some people claim to support local control – until someone else’s local control doesn’t fit their vision of the way things should be done.

What these people really want is for them to be in control, and everyone else to do their bidding.

The Denali situation is an example of a pattern that has become far too familiar.

Something that is really very simple gets blown out of proportion by politicians wailing about how important the issue is to them, when the truth is they couldn’t give a rat’s backside about the subject. They are simply looking for another issue that they can manipulate for political reasons.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that some of the politicians who are making the most noise couldn’t find Alaska – much less Denali – on a map.

And, of course, certain imbecile candidates have already vowed to change the name back to McKinley, should they be elected.

They seem to forget, the peak was Denali long before someone decided to change it to McKinley.

Last week’s action was not so much a change as it was restoring the designation to what it had been, and what Alaskans wanted it to be.

The more I am exposed to national politics, the more I want to escape to some remote place like Alaska and find a cave in the wilderness, far from the insanity in Washington.

I’m not suggesting the boys and girls in Washington don’t care. They care a lot. But you can bet that what they really care about is their own political agenda, not the latest cause du jour they are pretending to support.

It’s unfortunate, really. There is plenty of important work our elected officials could be doing, if they were ever to stop playing political games long enough to do it.

If politicians spent as much time, energy, and resources on actually doing something, rather than on preventing others from doing something, there’s no telling what they might accomplish.

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