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Obama Opponents Are Making a McKinley-Denali Mountain out of a Molehill

Obama Opponents Are Making a McKinley-Denali Mountain out of a Molehill: Via Flickr user Nic McPhee.

Via Flickr user Nic McPhee.

President Barack Obama’s decision to rename North America’s tallest peak from Mount McKinley to Denali is raising hackles among Ohio politicians. Specifically, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he was “deeply disappointed” by the decision.

There is a reason President McKinley’s name has served atop the highest peak in North America for more than 100 years, and that is because it is a testament to his great legacy. McKinley served our country with distinction during the Civil War as a member of the Army. He made a difference for his constituents and his state as a member of the House of Representatives and as Governor of the great state of Ohio. And he led this nation to prosperity and victory in the Spanish-American War as the 25th President of the United States. I’m deeply disappointed in this decision.

I suppose it’s to be expected that an Ohio politician would not take kindly to removing President McKinley, an Ohio native, from the mountain’s name. Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) also voiced his displeasure.

But the fact remains that the mountain is not in Ohio. It’s in Alaska. And the people of Alaska don’t seem to mind.

On a recent trip to the state, I only heard the mountain referred to as Denali. Use of Denali was so prevelent that I initially assumed Denali and McKinley must be two different mountains.

Of course, a one-time trip doesn’t make me an expert on the matter. But surely no one can doubt former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s credentials. She referred to the mountain as “Denali, the great one” during her farewell speech.

And Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is also a Republican, said Alaskans were “honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali.”

At the end of the day, people don’t like change. As a friend recently put it, “I’ll refer to Pluto as a planet ‘til the day I die.” So while it’s hard to fault Ohio politicians for complaining, it’s a lot harder to fault Alaskans for wanting to officially recognize the mountain’s original name, especially considering it’s in their backyard.

To put it another way: “Why’d Constantinople get the works? That’s nobody’s business but the Turks.”

Please don’t email me to talk about The Crusades.

In closing, I just spent an hour writing about a big rock. God bless America.

(Sources: AP News, TPM, Think Progress)

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