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Forget The Dead, Honor The Living

By Greg L | 14 February 2015 | Prince William County | 8 Comments

Someday we will live to regret Prince William County’s habit of memorializing currently active political personages with public monuments.  Apparently that day has not yet come, as we now devote taxpayer dollars to name some public facility for school board member Betty Covington while we refuse to report on campaign finance disclosures how public dollars were used to support her re-election campaign in such a way.

One day we’re going to name something in honor of some current political figure who is going to get indicted or embroiled in some scandal and then we’re going to have to figure out how to scrape off the plaque from some building that we foolishly named for a temporarily popular criminal.  It’ll be so much fun to have such a legacy to attach to some public facility while we replay the video of the dedication ceremony where the then-current political leadership sings the praises of someone we later learn to be blatantly corrupt.  It’s going to happen.  It’s just a matter of when.

But the public at this point can’t see the moral issues involved in promoting the political stature of current elected officials with taxpayer resources.  They’re blind to the foolishness of honoring the living instead of honoring those whose lives are complete as a means of inspiring the living to lead equally memorable lives.  The public just thinks that people like Sean Connaughton, Kathleen Seefeldt, Hilda Barg and Betty Covington are just peachy fine people who deserve public accolades and can’t possibly make mistakes in the future, or leverage these political honors in service of their future political interests.

Sure, they accomplished much and served long.  So have many others who have actually passed, and are worthy of memorials.  Since we have forgotten them it’s perhaps easier to ignore their contributions and their memory, skipping over them to honor people who can benefit from the accolades, and still have the opportunity to disappoint us.  Despite our public image we try to promote of an area having a rich history, we haven’t been able to come up with anyone in the past decade from the past whose accomplishments are worthy of recognition, so we have to default to the current political figures to find someone to name things after.  That probably says something more about us, than about those who preceded us.

This is a very bad tradition to continue.  I hope someday better wisdom will prevail.

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  1. What! said on 14 Feb 2015 at 3:59 pm:
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    It is outrageous to memorialize living political figures.

    Custom dictates that we allow history to judge after one has passed on before naming public facilities after someone. I ponder this every time I cross the Connaughton Park behind the McCoart Admininstration Building or drive by Jenkins Park on Hillandale.

    Shameful behavior. Any living politician who accepts such in initiative doesn’t deserve the honor.

  2. winston said on 15 Feb 2015 at 7:17 am:
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    I agree 100%. There are too many people who have given a lot and passed on for us to be using living people’s names for anything.

  3. Scott Lingamfelter said on 15 Feb 2015 at 9:41 am:
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    We banned this at the General Assembly. Person now has to be, well, enjoying their great reward.:)

  4. Donna W said on 15 Feb 2015 at 10:13 am:
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    I spoke before the PWC School Board on three different occasions adovacating for naming the new middle school after President Reagan based on the fact he was a historic leader as well as a world wide leader. I kept getting push back from members of the school naming committee. They wanted to name the school after Senator Colgan. I reminded them they were in violation of there own rule that the person
    had to be deceased and that the last time I checked Senator Colgan still had a pulse. They were making up the rules as they went along and when they realized I wasn’t going away and kept challenging them they backed down. At one point one, one of the school naming committee
    members told me that they only name schools after civil right leaders n PWC. Again I asked the woman to demonstrate where it was written
    that this was a school policy and of course she had to back down because there was none.

    I was able to demonstrate not from a political point of view as some were attempting to do in the process but I demonstrated because I
    worked in the WH during the time Reagan was in office all the great things he did for our country, partuclarly in the area of education. Thanks to the efforts of Milt Johns and others we now have a middle school named after Ronald Reagan.

  5. winston said on 15 Feb 2015 at 11:48 am:
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    Too much stuff named after Reagan. The same for most presidents. I think we could do better using local people.

  6. What! said on 15 Feb 2015 at 1:46 pm:
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    I vote for naming things after local dead people.

    They can certainly do less harm to Prince William County than the folks running things now.

    Colgan night count. From the way he ignores his constituants, I suspect he may not have a pulse.

  7. Reasonable and Rational said on 16 Feb 2015 at 10:23 am:
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    Donna W.. I suggest you do some background research partuclarly Reagan’s contributions in the area of education

    Mr. Reagan’s educational legacy…. As governor and president he demagogically fanned discontent with public education, then made political hay of it. As governor and president he bashed educators and slashed education spending while professing to valued it. And as governor and president he left the nation’s educators dispirited and demoralized

  8. winston said on 16 Feb 2015 at 11:20 am:
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    Yeah, but she worked in the WH

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