I want to start by saying, I am not, nor have I ever been a Washington Redskins fan. In fact, I often find myself cheering against them. It’s not because I have a grudge, not because they beat my team in the past, but because I just don’t genuinely don’t like them. All that said, one of my favorite cities in America is the Capitol, Washington, D.C. The Nation’s capital. The history. The stories. The heritage. The place where people have fought for civil rights, equality, and good ole American rights. It’s different now though, the capital is now a place where people go to bully other people, pick fights, and impose their beliefs on others.
Having lived in the Capital Beltway area, I got tired of hearing “Hail To The Redskins” during football season. Not because I was offended, but because everywhere I turned, people were either Redskins fans or Ravens fans. Growing up, I’ve never once heard anyone say the Washington Redskins team name and thought of it as a derogatory name. The picture on the mascot depicts a strong Native American, his hair pulled back, feathers hanging from his hair, and his hair tied at the end. Instead, I saw what I pictured as a child, the image of what Native Americans looked like when we settled this great nation and forced them out of their homes and off their land. I always thought the name “Washington Redskins” was very symbolic- the strongest capital in the world with the name of the first residents of her land- what great way to pay tribute to original owners of this land. I was impressed.
Actually, that’s exactly what we do. Our society has grown to accept the things that we should not, and reject the things we should embrace. We claim it’s for “political correctness” and chastise anyone who stands in the way. We no longer refer to people with mental handicaps as being handicapped, but instead we use the term “Intellectually disabled,” or instead of saying fireman, we say “fire fighter” because someone would come unglued if you said fireman and there was a woman on the force. The first time I can remember in my life hearing political correctness was when no longer referred to Native Americans as “Indians” but instead we began calling them Native Americans. In today’s society Native American is so common most never think twice about the original word of Indian anymore. This drive for watering down our history with so-called political correctness has been carried over to Congress getting involved in any matter they can.
United States Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WASH) is now leading the charge against the Washington Redskins and their “offensive” name. She claims “The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur.” This same Senator though is Chairwoman for a committee called “Committee on Indian Affairs” which in its name uses racial or politically incorrect terms by choosing to use the term “Indian.” How can you criticize another group or organization for their choice in names when you in fact Chair a group that does essentially the same thing?
I believe that with our nation struggling financially, people hurting for jobs, and our national debt the topic of many conversations that time, and money, could be better spent focusing our government on more pressing topics. Why do I, or any of us for that matter, pay taxes for our elected officials to go off chasing a professional sports team over their name? What does the name “Washington Redskins” have to do with our nation, our national security, or protection of our country? Congress has better things to do in my opinion. But, for those who think otherwise, let’s discuss Congress and their powers:
Among the powers specifically given to Congress in Article I Section 8, are the following:
- To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
- To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
- To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
- To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
- To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
- To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
- To establish post offices and post roads;
- To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
- To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
- To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
- To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
- To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
- To provide and maintain a navy;
- To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
- To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
- To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
- To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles (16 km) square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.
One of many congressional powers is to "define and punish piracies on the high seas".
Other congressional powers have been granted, or confirmed, by constitutional amendments. The Thirteenth (1865), Fourteenth (1868), and Fifteenth Amendments (1870) gave Congress authority to enact legislation to enforce rights of African Americans, including voting rights, due process, and equal protection under the law.Generally militia forces are controlled by state governments, not Congress.
I fail to see a connection to the Washington Redskins, Congress, and any of the above powers that Congress has. I would much rather see my tax paying dollars going to something more beneficial like improving the quality of our nation, Veterans Hospitals, or maybe fewer congressional breaks. If congress had to work like the rest of society, maybe they wouldn't get bored and need to chase professional sports teams over their choice of a name, a name, that frankly is no more offensive than the committee that is chasing it.