Lee High’s name inspires music, military, risk-taking

I think Robert E. Lee is a fine role model for young people. Above all, Lee was a risk taker – a great example for today’s risk-adverse students, many of whom are petrified of competition. Lee, on the other hand, was a formidable general, and after the war, he dedicated his life to education. Yes, he fought to preserve a slave republic, but so what? The United States in general was a slave republic for its first 89 years of existence. The Emancipation Proclamation did not affect the slave-holding border states.

One criticism of Lee is that he “was on the wrong side of history,” but so were our Vietnam veterans. Plus, our Afghanistan veterans may very well find themselves on the losing end as well. Are we going to start calling our vets “losers,” or are we going to honor them? Another criticism of Lee is he was a “traitor,” but so were the Revolutionary War patriots. In discussions about our War of Independence, no one waxes nostalgic for British law. Besides, had we lost that war the heads would’ve rolled.

The current criticism of Lee is he was a “racist,” but Abraham Lincoln himself was neither an abolitionist nor a believer in racial equality. Historical figures don’t come from central casting. They are human and a product of their times, but in at least one moment, they do something great, and for that, we study and remember them.

Interestingly, Robert E. Lee High School is an inextricable part of Lynyrd Skynyrd. To change the name would deface music history, as well as trivialize American history. Today’s Marxist rioters are calling for a purge of our heritage, which is the same tactic of Isis, the Taliban, Stalinist Russia, and the Cultural Revolution. The sole purpose of this cultural genocide is to clear the way for a more repressive, totalitarian, socialist regime.

Regrettably, changing Lee High’s name would alienate the school from the cultural and financial support it receives from its alumni. A local example: Florida State College at Jacksonville has changed names and mascots so much, it might as well be called Whatever U. Ripping down Lee’s name would also cost over $150,000. Why sink money into new signs, uniforms, and publications, when Florida teacher salaries and student expenditures are among the lowest in the nation?

Name change advocate Bernard Thomas says he’s “ashamed” of wearing his Lee Generals letter jacket in college. What a sad individual! When I was growing up in Avondale, I looked up to Lee High School students, I couldn’t wait to go to Lee, I thoroughly enjoyed attending Lee, and I am forever proud of being a Lee graduate. In life, attitude is everything.

Conversely, a name change is a false promise. In the words of Tammy from the film Election (1999), “Do you really think it’s going to change anything around here? Make one single person smarter, or happier, or nicer?” You can’t appease the destroyers of monuments and namesakes. This movement will go after Jean Ribault, a French colonizer; Martin Luther King, a womanizer; Andrew Jackson, a slave owner and Indian killer; and dead men in general, agents of the mythical “patriarchy.” By always viewing history through the most negative and dismissive lens, they will not stop, until everyone is as dreary and miserable as they are.

A lot of dust is raised over the fact that 69% of Lee High School students are black but the proposed name-change rests on the patronizing assumption that black students can’t psychologically handle American history. It also implies that predominantly black schools should only have black namesakes, and predominantly white schools should only bear names of whites. Talk about segregation. What was the civil rights movement for anyway?

Marcos Protheroe
Robert E. Lee High, class of 1980

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)