The deadliest time in United States history was four years of Civil War, when 640,000 Americans were killed or wounded. Over 260,000 of them were Confederate soldiers. In recognition of those appalling losses, southern and northern states named public buildings, parks, and schools for their fallen soldiers. The U.S. Army named facilities for brave Union officers, and even named ten bases for Confederates. But Hollywood now wants to rebrand the Civil War as a progressive event, acceptable to all Americans.
Julianne Moore, an Oscar-winning actress in her late 50s, has edged back into the publicity spotlight by petitioning Virginia’s Fairfax County Public School Board to change the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School to Thurgood Marshall High School. In defense of her petition she and her producer friend wrote that they felt they had to apologize for the school’s name “our whole lives.” It seems, however, that not everyone in the Fairfax community sympathizes.
At a meeting at the J.E.B. Stuart High School in late May, county officials listened to differing opinions on the name change issue. Local news station WTOP reported the meeting, noting that petitions have also been created against changing the name, and that school alumnus Paul Clarke said, “When you start changing names and revising history just because somebody doesn’t like that particular name I think you can run into some real trouble.”
In a survey to test how the community felt about a change, 56 percent said the name should not be changed. “Hopefully they’ll leave the name the way it is,” Clark added.
Besides the lack of a majority of the school community wanting a change, current policy adopted by the School Board requires the board to determine that there is “a compelling need” for considering renaming the school. Despite her sensitivity to the school name at cocktail parties, it is not clear how a “compelling need” can be shown by actress Moore, or by anyone else. And Ms. Moore and those kowtowing to her face yet another hurdle in her crusade — changing the name of a large high school is expensive.
Preliminary estimates posted on the Fairfax County Public Schools website show that changing the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School will cost $700,000, or even more, depending on timing and scope. Unfortunately, funding for changing the well-known school logo on the school and on uniforms, athletic fields, scoreboards, and a multitude of other items, is not in the school board budget. It is probably not in the budget of taxpayers in Fairfax County, either, so the money would have to be raised by a tax increase, special fees, or donations.
Though Ms. Moore has a net worth of $50 million, according to multiple websites, she has understandably not offered to foot the bill. Since she is unwilling to pony up the cash, there is nevertheless another and better way for her to avoid having to make more apologies to her friends in Hollywood about the school’s name. Simply ask President Obama for the money.
Replacing the name of a renowned cavalry commander who died in battle with that of the first black associate justice on the Supreme Court would surely meet with approval. Still, the final days of President Obama’s term in office are very busy, filled with travel and furthering his cultural change programs, so the only way Ms. Moore can be certain to get his attention is to propose the school’s name be changed to Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei High School.
Such a proposal would be irresistible to the White House. It fits perfectly into the ongoing efforts of Secretary of State Kerry to convince European banks to do business with Iran and support the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the “Iran deal” that insures that nation’s nuclear program will continue undisturbed for ten years. Additionally, Mr. Ben Rhodes could use his formidable foreign affairs and public relations expertise to promote the Fairfax High School Name Change Plan (FHSNCP) to the entire world. And last but not least, President Obama can mobilize a ready source of funding with but a single phone call to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
Considering that last year the IRS somehow paid $15.6 billion in “Earned Income Tax Credit” to ineligible recipients, adding a mere $700,000 for a high school name change would be barely noticeable. In fact, Commissioner Koskinen could easily increase that sum and cover name change costs for every high school in the country!
The name change issue will be amicably settled when Ms. Moore realizes that by replacing Thurgood Marshall with Ayatollah Khamenei she will not only refurbish her career, she will also help President Obama rescue his floundering foreign policies.
Chet Nagle is an independent writer, a former Pentagon official, and the author of Iran Covenant.