PC Activists Poised to Rename Lake Calhoun

The Hennepin County Board will likely rubber stamp a proposal on Tuesday to change the name of Lake Calhoun, rewriting state history at the behest of a relative handful of politically correct constituents. The group SaveLakeCalhoun.com recently took to the pages of the Star Tribune to acknowledge the likely outcome.

Sadly, our county commissioners have chosen to ignore 80% of Minnesotans in order to appease extremist-political activists.

But it’s our fault. We the silent majority stayed quiet. How many of us attended the public hearing to protest? How many of us wrote a personal letter, or called our county commissioner to voice our opinion?

And for that, there are consequences.

There’s little chance the last ditch appeal, published in the form of an ad, will change any votes. But the message from Save Lake Calhoun crystallizes what’s at stake.

It doesn’t matter that for as long as there’s been a Minneapolis, there’s been a Lake Calhoun. It doesn’t matter that for our grandparents, and our grandparents’ grandparents, there’s always been a Lake Calhoun.

It doesn’t matter that everyone in Minneapolis, and throughout the state, recognizes the iconic name of Lake Calhoun.

It doesn’t matter that the name is ubiquitous, a part of the names of scores of businesses, homes, buildings and organizations.

Jeff Johnson, the sole county commissioner expected to oppose the name change to Bde Maka Ska, warned in a separate Star Tribune op-ed that this may just be the beginning of an ugly new chapter in our history.

The argument of those advocating the change: John C. Calhoun, a Vice President and Secretary of State in the early 1800’s, was a supporter of slavery. The effort to change the name of Lake Calhoun is in line with similar campaigns throughout the country to rename buildings, schools and streets based on the objectionable beliefs of their namesakes.

I do not intend to vote for the name change.  Unlike some of the opponents of the change, I’m not concerned that the proposed name is hard to pronounce and my decision doesn’t hinge on the fact that homeowners near the lake are largely opposed to the change.  I just don’t believe this frenzy to rename structures, remove plaques or tear down monuments accomplishes anything.

The change will cause some problems – and cost – to the many businesses and organizations near the Lake that bear Calhoun’s name.  And it certainly will lead to a new push to rename Calhoun Parkway.  But it won’t change history or advance society in any way.

Under state law the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has to sign off on the name change to make it official. But that appears to be a foregone conclusion, a reality underscored by several Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Bde Maka Ska signs already posted around Lake Calhoun.

Goodbye Lake Calhoun, you will be missed. And be sure to thank your elected officials.