Chalk up another interim win for actress Julianne Moore, as the Fairfax County, Virginia School Board voted Thursday night to study her pet issue of changing the name of her old high school.
Moore’s crusade for political correctness manifested itself in the form of her demand that the name of J.E.B. Stuart High School in Falls Church, Virginia be changed because she and one of her Hollywood friends believe it represents a “history of racism.” Civil War students will recall that Stuart was a renowned Confederate cavalry general.
To mollify Moore and others, the school board voted Thursday to form a committee to study the ramifications of changing the school’s name, which is already estimated to cost taxpayers upwards of three quarters of a million dollars. The name change is also opposed by a solid majority of people in the school district.
Moore started bemoaning the school’s name and mascot last summer, claiming that “no one should have to apologize for the name of the public high school you attended” because of its image of Stuart astride his steed carrying a Confederate flag. The fact is, the school’s symbol was changed 15 years ago to that of a silhouetted rider on horseback carrying a blue flag.
The Hollywood star attended the school between 1975 and 1977, and apparently now is a good time for Moore to break her four-decade silence on the issue. Perhaps she was too busy in the mid-70s fighting against global cooling and the threat of a new Ice Age to stake out a position on the Confederacy.
As for Stuart himself, he was simply a 19th century patriot. His great-grandfather fought the British in the American Revolution and his father fought the British again in the War of 1812, so Stuart the Younger followed in their footsteps. At the age of 15, his enlistment in the Army was declined because he was too young to serve.
Two years later, Stuart entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, graduating in 1854 and serving in the Army for seven years. When war broke out in 1861, the native Virginian sided with his home state and joined the Confederate Army. Three years later, he was killed in battle.
Perhaps Moore wishes to visit retribution on Stuart for the sins of his father, a Democratic Congressman who, like many of his fellow Democrats, owned other human beings. But the famed cavalry general never owned slaves. Not one.
Moore’s grandstanding personifies the axiom that Hollywood is Washington for the stupid and her obliviousness of the logic of her argument is blissful. Wouldn’t Mooreian Logic dictate that the seven original Confederate states be expelled from the United States because their very presence in the union represents a “history of racism”?
But let’s not get silly. After all, this is an individual Moore is talking about, one whose very name is apparently synonymous with racism. Under the circumstances, maybe Moore should embark on a campaign to change the name of Malcolm X Shabazz High School in Newark, New Jersey. Given his anti-Semitic rant in a 1963 Playboy interview, one should not be surprised that a Jewish student might feel some unease attending a school named for a guy who pretty much hated his heritage.
We encourage Ms. Moore to carry her J.E.B. Stuart High School crusade to its logical conclusion by championing name changes at Cesar Chavez high schools in Washington, DC, Phoenix, Delano, California and wherever else institutions of education bear the name of the man who callously referred to Mexican strikebreakers as “wetbacks.”
Of course, no such effort by Moore or anyone else in Hollywood is anticipated. The glitterati’s penchant for selective outrage and the establishment media’s appetite for elevating only those with whom they march in lockstep preclude even a modicum of intellectual honesty.
Even though most people in Fairfax County want J.E.B. Stuart High School to keep its name and avoid the exorbitant cost of changing it, Ms. Moore likely has a new ally in her quest. The newly elected chair of the local school board is Sandy Evans, whose resumé includes time as a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Evans has previously urged further study of the matter and one could be forgiven for suspecting that this study committee will do nothing more than kill time to provide activists more opportunity to coerce others to their point of view. The entire scenario suggests Stuart’s biggest battle is the one being fought over his name today.
Scott Hogenson is a public relations executive in the Washington, DC area.