After a prolonged campaign that included a letter from Congress and a bill introduced, the U.S. Patent Office has revoked the Washington Redskins’ trademarks. The politically correct crowd and the mainstream media mob are thrilled. They gleefully proclaim the ruling as one more step in the imminent demise of the Redskin name.
What they are celebrating is that two unelected bureaucrats buried in the Patent Office have taken it upon themselves to seize private property and inflict financial penalties for one of three reasons; they are offended, are seeking publicity, or are capitulating to Congress. For the PC crowd, the ends always justifies the means.
Personally, I think the Redskins name should have been dropped 30 years ago. I do think it is offensive. More than that, a sports team name should reflect the city, its history and culture, while being fearsome and intimidating to its foes.
The team should be named the Washington Red Tape. They wouldn’t have to change their color, the name truly evokes Washington, DC in everyone’s mind and most importantly, red tape is indomitable, unyielding, constant. No force known to mankind has ever defeated it.
The whole issue is not a big deal to me, because I don’t care about the Washington Redskins. And when it comes to Native Americans, the problems of unemployment, education, substandard housing and substance abuse should be a bit higher on the priority list.
What is a big deal is that the unaccountable bureaucracy, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, to be exact, has decided to politically intervene in the patent process, making a decision that is worth millions of dollars. This issue is too public and too contentious to be left to a couple of patent office drones. Dan Snyder absolutely should not change the name because some administrative star chamber told him to. In fact, I think any change should wait until an appeals court hopefully throws out the decision (again). Then he should change it.
If this ruling stands, the U.S. Patent Office will go from a technical office to another venue where every ideological pressure group in the country will try to hamstring and punish their enemies. This is not a court where judges are subject to rigorous vetting by the executive and legislative branch. It is part of the vast, impenetrable federal bureaucracy and is insulated from the political process.
For this reason it is and always has been vital to limit the bureaucracy in its discretion. Without strict limits, this fourth branch of the government, insulated from the public as it is, could impose its will without consequence. The charge for the bureaucracy is to administer and make technical judgments. It is up to those we elect to set policy. As for the Redskins name, it should be up to the public to make the choice. People will either support the team and name or they won’t. If the public keeps moving against Redskins, then the name will change.