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Twitter Trends, Yale’s Shadowy Past, and the Bush Family Legacy

Cancel Culture is spreading across our country at a rate that could make the Coronavirus jealous.  This movement, spearheaded by groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, at first targeted things that portrayed Police in a positive light.  Shows such as “Cops” and “Live PD” and even the children’s cartoon show “Paw Patrol” have been in their crosshairs.  

More recently, though, these groups have targeted anything that is reminiscent of slavery.  The first and most obvious targets of this trend were statues of Civil War Generals.  Anything displaying the Confederate Flag has likewise been on their hit list.  Even modern military bases that bear the names of Confederate Generals are not safe.  According to these groups, these statues have to come down.  These flags must be removed.  These bases need to be renamed.

Following this logic, the groups behind this movement have begun targeting Revolutionary War heroes as well.  The soldiers who led the fight for independence and the statesman who sat in the Continental Congress and penned our founding documents are now considered irredeemably evil because some of them owned slaves.  Already statues of these men have come down or have otherwise been desecrated.  The statue of George Washington in Portland is an example.  Statues of Thomas Jefferson have also been a point of contention.  There have even been calls for the famous Washington Monument in Washington D.C. to come down. 

So, with all of this behind us, and the agitators still not satisfied, where do we go next?  Are they going to start clamoring to rename places that are christened after famous slave owners?  Should we rename the nation’s capital?  How about Washington state?

Well, those two things may be a bit much for the nation to handle.  Maybe those behind this should set their sights a little lower.   Fortunately for them, a man has come forward with an idea of where they should logically go next.

On Saturday afternoon, radio personality Jesse Kelly Tweeted out the following: “Yale University was named for Elihu Yale.  Not just a man who had slaves.  An actual slave trader.  I call on @Yale to change its name immediately and strip the name of Yale from every building, piece of paper, and merchandise.  Otherwise, they hate black people.”  

Kelly concluded this brief Tweet with the hashtag #CancelYale and soon it was a trending topic on Twitter. 

Now, it just so happens that Kelly had his facts straight.  Elihu Yale was a slave trader in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.  Additionally, he was employed by the East India Company during which time he amassed a large personal fortune by participating in, among other things, the sale of black human beings in the slave market.  In 1718, he gifted a large amount of money to a small school in Connecticut which they then used to acquire and develop new property in the town of New Haven.  This school was then renamed in his honor: Yale.

So, if we’re going to start clamoring for things named after slave owners and traders to be renamed, Yale University seems like the next logical candidate.

The problem is, what should the new name be?

Well, I have a suggestion for that.  If we’re renaming things because we don’t want to honor slave owners, maybe the new names should bring honor to people who actively worked against slavery.  This makes a lot of sense to me. 

In this regard, there are a few obvious choices.  We could go with Frederick Douglas or Harriet Tubman or even Abraham Lincoln.  But these folks have already received so mush honor and recognition for their work.  Maybe someone more obscure?

I know of the perfect guy: Obadiah Bush.  Obadiah Bush was born in 1797 in the state of New York and was an ardent abolitionist throughout his life.  He served as Vice-President of the American Anti-Slavery Society.  He was a supporter of the underground railroad that freed many slaves in the years before the Civil War.  At one point, he even petitioned the New York State Legislature to secede from the Union if the country did not abolish slavery.  He was an anti-slavery champion decades before Abraham Lincoln even stepped onto the national stage.

There is another factor as well.  Obadiah Bush’s Great-Great-Grandson and his Great-Great-Great Grandson are both alumni of Yale who would later go on to become President of the United States.  I’m talking, of course, of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush; the 41st and 43rd Presidents of the United States. 

So, in the interest of racial justice, it seems to me that renaming Yale University as Bush University is the only logical thing to do. By doing so they would honor and anti-slavery champion and two former U.S. Presidents who graduated from their institution.

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