Today there is one less large thing named after a man from Ohio, and the other men from Ohio are hopping mad. “Our beloved Ohio man needs his name on the large thing,” they cry. Their cries fall on deaf ears: Alaska’s Mt. McKinley is now Denali.
Some background: There’s this great big mountain in Alaska — the tallest in North America — that pre-European (and post-European) native Alaskans have called Denali, for a couple thousand years, give or take. In 1896, a gold prospector decided to name it after a (gold standard-supporting) Republican presidential candidate. That candidate, William McKinley, went on to be elected president, and then he went on to be assassinated.
McKinley was from Ohio, a very large state with many members of Congress and great importance in our archaic presidential election process. So a very large mountain in Alaska (that already had a name) was eventually “officially” named for an Ohioan who had never been to Alaska and had very little to do with that state (which was not yet a state) at all. Alaskans continued to call it Denali, and preferred that others also recognize it as Denali. But Alaska has many fewer members of Congress, and very little importance in presidential elections, and so it remained Mt. McKinley, until President Obama’s Department of the Interior announced, yesterday, that it is now Denali (again).
But that battle is lost. If the Ohio men are so desperate to have a large thing named after William McKinley, they’re going to have to pick a different large thing.
Here are a few suggestions:
The Ohio River
These men of Ohio would seem to prefer that large things be named for their fellow Ohio man, rather than called what American Indians have always called them. So if they can’t have the faraway mountain, they would surely be delighted to have the river that their state is named for. “Ohio” comes from the Seneca language, but what have the Seneca ever done for us, compared to the great Ohio hero who defeated the hated Spaniards?
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
As a president, William McKinley naturally spent a lot of time in Washington D.C.. He was from Ohio, “the birthplace of aviation,” home of the famous Ohio flying brothers, Orville and Wilbur. Their first flight would have happened during McKinley’s second term, had he not been gunned down. (Perhaps with an Ohio man still in the Oval Office, it would have even happened in Ohio, instead of North Carolina.) What better tribute to Ohio and its famous men, some of whom flew and others of whom were president, than the airport that is closest to where we keep our presidents?
Plus, it is already named after two presidents, so what is one more?
“William McKinley Reagan Washington National Airport.” It has a nice ring to it. A patriotic ring.
Is there any American mountain more beloved than this one? Splash Mountain may not compare to Denali in terms of elevation, but it certainly has it beat when it comes to fun for the whole family. Splash Mountain also has the benefit, unlike Denali, of existing in two entirely separate states, as well as near Tokyo. Let the lovable anthropomorphic animals of the highly problematic Uncle Remus stories, as reimagined in a long-suppressed film, welcome visitors to the new and improved Mt. McKinley.
A Star Wars Sequel
Americans everywhere have “Jedi Fever,” with the beloved space movie franchise finally returning to cinemas later this year. William McKinley, a political “star” who loved “wars,” seems like a natural fit for the series. Just imagine the darkened theater, the eager audience, and, finally, over that famous fanfare, the large yellow words: Star Wars Episode VIII: William McKinley.
A dumb, bad flower?
On Sunday, Ohio governor (and presidential candidate) John Kasich said that for Ohioans, “every carnation is a monument to our own William McKinley.”
As POTUS once again oversteps his bounds, Ohio knows every carnation is a monument to our own William McKinley. -John pic.twitter.com/GvQfqnIKOh— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) August 31, 2015
But carnations, unlike mountains, are very small, and they are also, according to at least one flower expert, “garbage.” Surely the legendary Ohio man who loved gold and got shot deserves more than a modest garbage flower. Shame on you, Governor Kasich.
Please come up with at least three things to name after William McKinley, to satisfy and silence the furious weeping Ohio men.