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Morning Poll: Renaming Arlington’s Confederate Roads

by ARLnow.com — September 28, 2011 at 9:50 am 6,261 316 Comments

The Arlington County Board’s recent vote to change the name of Old Jefferson Davis Highway to “Long Bridge Park” was preceded by a thorough dissing of the former namesake by Board Chairman Chris Zimmerman, the Sun Gazette reports this morning.

“I have a problem with ‘Jefferson Davis,’” Zimmerman said of the former Confederate president. “I don’t believe Jefferson Davis has a historic connection to anything in Arlington… He wasn’t from Virginia. I don’t really see why we need to honor him.”

Though last week’s vote may be a victory for the anti-Jefferson Davis crowd, it only renames a narrow, pothole-ridden backroad that connects Crystal City with a future county park. The much larger and more heavily-traveled State Route 1 will continue to be known as Jefferson Davis Highway.

Meanwhile, another state route — Route 29 — is named after an even more prominent, but slightly less controversial Confederate leader: Robert E. Lee. While Jefferson Davis Highway runs north-south through south Arlington, Lee Highway runs east-west across north Arlington. Both serve tens of thousands of commuters each day.

Though the Civil War figures prominently in the history of Arlington, should these roads be renamed for something or someone not associated with slavery and the losing side of a horribly costly war? Or should we preserve our history, warts and all?

  • http://blacknell.net/dynamic/ MB

    “our history should not be whitewashed”? Seriously?

    • Smilla

      Yeah, that “whitewash” line is ridiculous — and downright wrong. Renaming those streets is RECOGNITION of history — recognizing that those men were traitors to the country and shouldn’t be so honored.

      “Whitewashing” history would be stating that thousands of slaves voluntarily fought for the Confederacy (just like that Wiki-fied VA history textbook had stated).

      • CW

        Glad I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t believe he was reading that.

      • Virginia^2

        “I shall never bear arms against the Union, but it may be necessary for me to carry a musket in the defense of my native state, Virginia, in which case I shall not prove recreant to my duty.”

        There is tons of evidence that shows what a difficult and delayed decision it was for Lee – but it’s pretty easy to call someone a traitor, anonymously on the internet and 150 years removed from the event and the cultural realities surrounding it.

        • Clarendon Cruiser

          Still a WRONG decision. Why don’t you google the numerous southern officers that choose to honor their oath of office and defend the federal government.

          what cultural reality are you referring to? Slavery hidden under the guise of ‘States Rights’

          • Virginia^2

            His family’s deep ties to the state in a time, before improvements in transportation, manufacturing, and communication eroded state borders and the New Deal totally changed the federal system?

            Unless you’ve invented time travel, you did not live under such (yes, cultural) circumstances. You can call him a traitor all you want, and that’s fine; but I’m going to put your judgment in proper perspective.

            “Slavery hidden under the guise of ‘States Rights’ ” (States’, by the way, while we’re being adversarial here) is what you call it today with the benefit of hindsight and reflecting today’s values. Lee considered himself a Virginian, first and foremost – that decision wasn’t made using today’s values.

            I buy drax’s argument advanced elsewhere that we can “pick our heroes” to reflect our current values. I don’t see any reason that we should be required to keep historical monuments for the sole reason that they are historical.

            But these roads were named thusly in the first place – obviously VIRGINIANS, IN VIRGINIA, didn’t think that these guys were traitors.

          • Clarendon Cruiser

            So if he only considered himself a Virginian, defending Virginia, why did he lead many soldiers from the various southern states twice on Campaigns into the North?

          • Boom! Roasted

            Because by bringing the war to the North he could potentially force the North’s surrender, i.e.bring his defense of Virginia to a successful conclusion? Are you being deliberately obtuse?

          • Michael C. Lucas

            Embrace history do not shun it. The hypocrisy that Confederate Americans fought for slavery is a distortion of history so we have here today hate mongering politically correct revisionism which is as divisive as anything. The corruption of our American education system regarding the values these men fought for is a hate crime nothing less.

          • Josh S

            Mike -

            I don’t think bigoted white people are a protected class…..

          • Scott Lewis

            Clarendon~

            Interesting. But do you want to learn a little something. For every southern officer you can name that stayed north….I’ll match you with a northern fellow officer who went south….

            Interested?

            York

          • Clarendon Cruiser

            I’ll start with two and give you one:
            - Benjamin Franklin Davis (From AL, despised the south)
            - John Gibbon (From NC, Trained the Iron Brigade)

            for the south:
            John C. Pemberton (Grant defeated him at Vicksburg, from PA)

          • SouthArlJD

            Ooh, interesting diversion. My personal favorite is George Thomas, a Virginian who fought heroically for the Union and was called the Rock of Chickamauga.

            It’s amusing to see people in this thread assuming that everyone from the South went with the Confederacy. They’ve forgotten that western Virginia was SO much in favor of the Union that it later split off and became West Virginia. They’ve forgotten that in the early days of the war anyone from the border region was viewed with suspicion by both sides because so many families and communities were split on the question of which side to support. It’s well documented that especially in the mountain ranges of the Southern states there were many Union sympathizers and in fact Grant’s successes would have been impossible without the aid and support from people in the mountains who had no love for the slave-owning aristocratic poseurs who brought them to war in defense of an indefensible institution. That many Southerners who didn’t own slaves felt compelled to go with their states was a tragic reality, but there is no escaping the cause of the Civil War, no matter how thoroughly Southern apologists try to wrap it in “states rights” and deny the role of slavery even though the founding documents of the Confederacy are rife not only with reference to slavery, but in citing slavery as the specific reason for their secession.

          • Jim Wilson

            Because as any soldier will tell you, your Oath of service and office is to the Constitution and its people not the Government!

        • drax

          Okay, so it was a difficult decision for Lee to decide to be a traitor. Wow.

      • Garden City

        +1

      • xtr657

        So should Arlington County and Arlington National Cemetary be renamed because they were named after Robert E. Lee’s House?

      • http://www.southernnationalist.com/blog/ PalmettoPatriot

        Those men who you call “traitors to the country” were loyal to their culture and their States. “The country” was a voluntary union of sovereign States prior to Lincoln’s conquest of the independent South. There’s nothing sacred about the Federal Government – it was created by the States and surely if the States aceded to the Union they created they could also secede from it. One’s first loyalty is not to some over-grown bureaucratic nightmare of a central government – it’s to your people, your neighbours and family and then extends outward from there.

        • Jorge-LoneWolf

          This is an outright outrage! May not have been born in VA but grew up here long enough to appreciate the culture and history. Sure Gen. Lee sided with the confederacy but did it out of loyalty to the culture.
          This is not the Hamptons! This is VA and there is a rich culture here.
          I consider myself a liberal but this will stear me to vote Republican at the County and possibly at the State level. This is the work of innefectual liberals. Outrage!! This cannot be allowed.

      • Jimmy L. Shirley Jr.

        I take exception to Lee and Davis being referred to as “traitors”. The fact is, it was northern people, except for the “Copperheads” who were the traitors and the lincoln regime who committed treason. Article IV, Section 4 states, in part, “…The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion.” So who was invaded if not the Southern States.
        Then, Article III, Section 3 states, in part, “Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” So, who was it that waged war against the States but the lincoln regime.
        So in fact, the whole lincoln regime and high command aughten to have been tried for treason and history should be corrected to show the truth that it was the U.S. government who committed treason and Grant, sherman, sheridan, et al who were the traitors.

    • http://www.arlnow.com ARLnow.com

      To allow the answer to encompass more viewpoints, we’ve removed the “whitewash history” line.

      • Smilla

        Thank you, ARLNow!

    • Ah the irony

      Just curious…how is it that there are a gazillion MLK roads out there. Did he have something to do with everywhere?

      • Josh S

        As a matter of fact, yes.

        • drax

          +1!

          • Ah the irony

            Josh S or Drax, you care to explain?

            If you argument is civil rights, then why don’t we see more Malcom X Drives, or Harriet Tubman’s, etc?

          • Josh S

            I don’t know. Maybe you should lobby for those street names if you feel they are underrepresented.

      • http://www.southernnationalist.com/blog/ PalmettoPatriot

        Good point.

    • Scott Lewis

      Oh my yes…we surely don’t want to “darken” the annals of the past!

  • YoBimbo

    Yeah, lovely choice of words, and not very objective, eh?

  • Clarendon

    I’m generally very much against renaming streets and schools that were named after a revered local that in modern times may have lost popularity. But, Zimmerman does have a point on Jeff Davis – he really has not much to do with Virginia. Robert E. Lee is a whole different situation. Arlington Blvd was renamed from Lee Blvd – I probably would have opposed that (although I believe the reason was valid – that it was confusing to have Lee Hwy and Lee Blvd). Lee and George Washington are the two Virginians that wer chosen to represent Virginia in the Statuary Hall at The Capitol.

    • Josh S

      The statues can change over time.

      • DCP

        And yet Virginia’s have not.

      • Clarendon

        Has any state changed their statues ?

        • Josh S

          To date, only Michigan has taken advantage of this.

          • drax

            No, the statues change often. New people enter history, and old ones are forgotten. Also, people wake up and realize that honoring traitors who fought to keep people in slavery is, like, stupid.

          • Clarendon

            Our modern world is amazing in the facts that are available to average joe citizen (assuming wiki is correct).

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Statuary_Hall_Collection

            “A 2003 change in the law allows a state to remove a previously placed statue from the collection and replace it with another. Since this change, four states have replaced statues, and a two others are in the process of doing so”

          • drax

            “Since this change, four states have replaced statues, and a two others are in the process of doing so””

            4 + 2 = more than Michigan

          • Clarendon

            Michigan will probably doing another replacement once the statue of Eminem is ready.

    • drax

      We should take down the statues too.

      • Lou

        What do you have against George Washington?

        • drax

          No that one.

          • Clarendon

            But why not ? Washington inherited 10 slaves from his father and at the time of his death had over 300 slaves.

          • yup

            That’s why we renamed his Airport to Reagan

          • umm

            So, why do we have a Reagan airport?

          • Newt

            Maybe because he was endorsed by the air traffic controllers union in the 1980 election, before he fired them all.

          • drax

            So do you consider Washington and Davis to be morally identical?

          • Clarendon

            I can’t name any two individually that I would consider to be “morally identical”. Not even sure what that means !

            I would just as soon not name anything in my state after Jeff Davis as his connection to Virginia was not at all significant (regardless of what anyone thinks about him) – same with Ronald Reagan.

            BTW, I believe the official airport name is

            Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Future students will be asking who the heck Ronald Washington was.

          • Westover

            No American has been morally close to George Washington in 240 years.

          • Scott Lewis

            Care to name the last US President that owned people? Hint…he’s on the $50 bill!

          • jack

            Herbert Hoover? Oh wait, those were sex slaves he got in the 1920′s version of Craigslist. All legal.

      • Some Libertarian

        Bob Barr made us do it.

      • http://www.southernnationalist.com/blog/ PalmettoPatriot

        If you’re talking about the hideous new MLK monstrosity (which has to be one of the ugliest statues ever) or the Lincoln temple (where his arms rest on fasces – an appropriate symbol given his big government agenda) I would agree. These were immoral men, certainly not worth celebrating.

    • Scott Lewis

      Then I guess we need to rethink Montgomery County, over here in Maryland, named for Gen. Richard Montgomery, the first general to die in the Revolution….and a gentleman who never set foot in this county that’s named for him.

  • DLGlenCarlyn

    It is so comforting to know that there are no pressing, important matters facing the county and its residents other than the name of a couple streets !! I (and my wallet) will certainly sleep better tonite…..

  • http://www.spmnd.com David B

    Why waste the time, money, and effort on changing all those road signs.

    I think the poll speaks for itself, Arlington should focus its efforts on anything else. How about on overcrowded schools? Transportation? More dog parks?

  • rick

    Why don’t we rename jackson st too? don’t forget Stuart. Am I missing any?

    • Mike

      I always assumed Jackson St. was named after President Andrew Jackson (going along with the other “President” streets such as Garfield, Harrison, etc.).

      • Aaron

        Even if it was, Andrew Jackson killed even more innocent non-white people than Nixon and Dubya combined!!!

        • Richard Cranium

          Killing innocent white people would have completely exonerated him.

      • Rick

        Or Miracle Jackson… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doeKu-nCNOA

        In all seriousness if this ever gets considered in Richmond, or the County tries to hang stupid signs under it like they do in DC or Baltimore (I hate driving down “Via Nancy Pelosi”) I’m going to rename my driveway Fort Sumter Blvd.

        • Rick

          and I’m getting a cannon

  • John Fontain

    “I have a problem with ‘Jefferson Davis,’” Zimmerman said…”

    Once again, someone on the county board using their position to further their personal views rather than voting based on what the constituency wants.

    “Fisette seemed unlikely to lose any sleep over the decision. “Any name is going to work,” he noted.”

    Kudos to Fisette! This is not something the county board should be wasting too much time on.

  • Chris

    Somebody using “dissing” in a spot of journalistic informality and nobody has demanded blood? Fine, then allow me firsties. STOP THE INTERNETS!

  • Burger

    Let’s think of this practically,

    Almost no one I know calls Jefferson Davis Hwy that – they call it Route 1.

    No one calls Lee Hwy, Route 29 but Lee Hwy.

    My point – who cares.

    • Real World Economics

      Actually, most people refer to Jefferson Davis Highway as JD Highway, not Route 1. And it is similarly named through most of the state – Fairfax County, where it is “Richmond Highway”, is a notable exception.

      • Sean

        I have lived here all my life and until your comment I have never once heard anyone refer to it as “JD Highway”. That must be a moniker the folks in your circle use, but it’s not a commonly used name for that road. It is known by almost everyone else as Route 1.

  • Vik

    Jefferson Davis Highway is a stupid name and should be changed.

    • ArlingtonNative

      “Long Bridge Park” Road is a stupid name and should be changed … see how that works? It’s all relative.

      As others have noted, elected County board members (I am loath to call them ‘officials’) should not be spending the county’s time & dollars advancing personal agendas that bring no benefit to the resident’s.

      • Vik

        Why should changing the name of a road that honors a traitor cost much time and dollars? Advancing personal agendas would be the people who would not vote one way or the other and instead bitch about how the county could be doing better things, which ends up wasting time and dollars. The fact is, local governments do relatively insignificant things from time to time and some people complain about everything governments do, like yesterday’s story about a dog park being renovated or last week’s about a bridge being rebuilt.

        • Aaron

          Jeff Davis was never convicted of treason. He had a relatively prosperous life after the war as a successful businessman and historian. He was considered an American statesman in the North as well as the South, in part for his postwar efforts to encourage the former Confederates to peacefully re-assimilate back into the Union.

          • drax

            He was never convicted because a general pardon was issued. Doesn’t mean he wasn’t guilty of treason.

          • Virginia^2

            Isn’t that precisely what it means?

          • drax

            It means he wasn’t convicted of treason. Doesn’t mean he didn’t commit a crime that could have resulted in being convicted of treason. So legally, yes, that’s what it means. Legally.

          • drax

            I was simply objecting to the implication that not being convicted of treason means he didn’t commit it.

            It’s like Oliver North – he was convicted of crimes, but they were overturned (on one of those technicalities that conservatives hate so much). So he is legally not guilty of anything, but he still committed illegal acts.

          • Aaron

            No, he wasn’t pardoned of treason either, but please feel free to keep making up more doodlyrooiffic fun facts for yourself. After the war, Davis was arrested, jailed, and indicted, but the federal government declined to prosecute him for treason.

          • TCE

            JD never excepted the pardon. He refused it until his death as he claimend that he never did anything wrong.

          • http://www.southernnationalist.com/blog/ PalmettoPatriot

            I guess you don’t believe in self-determination then. Do you also oppose the Declaration of Independence since the colonists were guilty of treason by your definition?

          • drax

            Here’s an idea, though – put up a plaque all about his assimilation efforts and make it clear that’s why he is honored. Be sure it clearly states that slavery was a horrible evil that stained the Confederate cause.

        • ArlingtonNative

          Wow … so you have a source that will provide the county with free street signs? No? Well there is your $$ factor as well as the time it will take county staff to implement (more $$).
          And yes, local govts do relatively insignificant things from time to time – and we should expect them to use the county’s $ and their time representing the county on more significant things that will actually make a difference… like building a bridge or a dog park.

          • Vik

            Having the name of the president and commander of an enemy nation of America as one of the major roads in the County reflects poorly on the County and would have an effect if we changed it. Signs aren’t cheap, but we can phase this project over time, employ a local company to create/install the signs and the residents of the County would be appreciative in the long run.

          • Virginia^2

            News flash: Route 1 is also named “Jefferson Davis Highway” outside of Arlington

            http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/jdavis.cfm

          • Vik

            Ok, and it’s called Richmond Highway in sections as well. What’s your point?

          • Virginia^2

            I was suggesting that it wouldn’t reflect poorly on the County to retain the name of a road it didn’t have control over naming in the first place. But apparently this is “Old Jefferson Davis,” which I missed, so the point is moot.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      From Wikipedia:

      “The Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway was a planned transcontinental highway in the United States in the 1910s and 1920s that began in Washington, D.C. and extended west to San Diego, California; it was named for Jefferson Davis, who, in addition to being the first and only President of the Confederate States of America was also a U.S. Congressman and Secretary of War.”

      For 100 years it apparently wasn’t stupid, until Zimmie said he has a problem with it. Why is it stupid?

      • Georgia Mason

        Stop using facts to try to dispel the hypocrites – it only irritates them and they don’t learn.

        After all, what about great great great great great great Grampie George Mason? He was no saint, either – he owned slaves and made no effort to get rid of the ones he owned (though he DID try to prohibit others from owning them), and Arlington is kind enough to name a street for him, too:

        “He was not eager to ban slavery where it already existed: ‘It is far from being a desirable property. But it will involve us in great difficulties and infelicity to be now deprived of them.’ “

      • JosephineSouthern

        Add the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway extended all the way to the Washington State utmost border where a marker was removed by some black activist a few years ago. Stop these people from desecrating our history they do it for FUBU power.

        Davis and Lee were in great company with their ancestors who won their Independence from England and formed THESE United States of America, while Lincoln formed THE United States of America empire and trashed the Constitution. Taking up arms against, invading, stealing, murdering your neighbor states is against the Constitution.

        T

        • Arlington citizen

          Even worse, the U.S. Constitution did not and still does not state whether a State can legally secede from the Union.

          The people who wrote and signed the Constitution, including James Madison and George Washington, were responsible for a lapse in judgement that perhaps inevitably resulted in a bloody Civil War. Yet some people honor these people as being “founding fathers” and laud the Constitution as being a great document.

          The people who wrote the constitution of the U.S.S.R knew better. Their constitutiion granted the individual republics the right to secede. That’s why the Soviet Union dissolved without a fight.

          • http://TripDownTruthRoad.com CSAcitizen

            You have been well REconstructed ! Read the 9th and 10th Amendments. Secession has ALWAYS been a legal rule. To FORCE any state to be a part of a union is NOT Freedom. The states would have never agreed to anything that imprisoned them into a union they could never get out of – common sense ! Lincoln’s verbal ‘law’ is what you are thinking of that no state could leave his NEW union he just established. America was founded on secession ! We seceded from Britain ! Lincoln just wanted to be the king dictator over the entire country as ONE – it was always TWO nations (North & South) that the Founders established here from the beginning, and Lincoln wanted that fact well hidden and also to hide all his crimes and Treason..That is why Lincoln had all early history burned as well as all his own evidence actions burned so these facts would never be discovered.

          • Josh S

            It might have also had something to do with the fact that the nations that made up the USSR had each existed as more or less independent countries before being taken over by Russia and forced into the union. That might have something to do with it.

            It’s not a very good comparison.

          • Newt

            The US Constitution also did not grant freedom to slaves. That’s an even bigger oversight. So does that mean we should remove all the names of the country’s founders from everything?

  • Westover Leftover

    “I have a problem with ‘Jefferson Davis,’” Zimmerman said of the former Confederate president. “I don’t believe Jefferson Davis has a historic connection to anything in Arlington… He wasn’t from Virginia. I don’t really see why we need to honor him.”

    Another victim of public education…

    • Aaron

      At least that comment is a matter of public record now. It should keep make it slightly more difficult for Zimbo to push for an Obama Way, Harvey Milk Drive, or any other salute to any other individual without a historic connection to Arlington.

      • drax

        When you have a shred of evidence that he ever wanted to do those things, then you’ll have a point.

      • Paco

        OK Aaron, you will support “Senator Paul Wellstone Way”? Arlington native, Yorktown grad, a good and decent man.

    • Josh S

      I’m not following you. Were there factual mistakes in his statement?

      • Josh

        no – davis was born in KY and lived in mississippi for a bit. he spent about 4 years in VA during his tenure as pres of the confederacy.

        however, i would agree that arlington county has more important things to focus on than renaming streets. the potholes on highland could use some attention.

        • Westover

          Jefferson Davis actually spent many nights in Alexandria County, which today is known as Arlington County and the City of Alexandria.

  • Novanglus

    Both those roads are owned by the state. Good luck getting that through Richmond!

    I didn’t vote, but would have chosen “Neither road should be renamed; we have much bigger issues to bring to the state house.”

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    One thing is for sure, there had better NEVER be a Chris Zimmerman Boulevard.

    • Westover Leftover

      +1

    • charlie

      I have a problem with Zimmerman. He isn’t from Virginia.

      • xtr657

        hahaha, like it, though most of the 20-40s crowd in Arlington these days is in Zimmerman’s boat…from the Northeast. Most of them never had to take Virginia history, where even Jeff Davis didn’t come off that bad. I even remember that it was only 10-15 years ago when Fairfax County Public Schools still referred to the MLK Holiday in school calendars as Lee-Jackson-King Day, until the state separated the two.

        I’m never in favor of renaming anything. Even within the last ten years, the (very) minority-majority TC Williams students were highly opposed to renaming their school even though the man it was named for was anti-desegregation.

  • NomNom

    REMEMBER: We are renaming “Old” Jefferson Davis Highway not Jefferson Davis Highway/Route 1. Those of us unfortunate enough to be towed are probably the many who have ventured on this road — A-1 Tow Yard is back there.

    • FrenchyB

      Excellent point – I think we should rename “Old Jefferson Davis Highway”, but not for the reason stated by Zimmerman. They should change it because having two roads with nearly the same name can be confusing.

    • Vinh An Nguyen

      Isn’t there an Old Lee Highway as well?

      • Yes

        There is also an “Old Glebe Road”

        • Westover Leftover

          and a “Old Dominion”

          • Lou

            They could rename that “Old Virginny”

        • bred

          Ever been at the intersection of Glebe and Glebe in south Arlington?

    • SamsontheCat

      I vote we change the name to a string of expletives since that’s what most people mutter as they walk down that dark road at night to get their car

      • john

        Yeah…”Forget You Blvd.”

  • KalashniKEV

    This is just the latest way for the Arlington County Board to attack our American heritage and insult our culture… Who is voting for these people???

    • Smilla

      “This is just the latest way for the Arlington County Board to attack white conservative heritage and insult a ‘culture’ that should have long passed into oblivion…”

      /fixed

      • Brandon C

        +1

        • KalashniKEV

          OK, so now I know what Kooks are voting for these clowns!

          • 1940′s

            we want our language back

          • Agent Michael Scarn

            +1

      • KalashniKEV

        I was just thinking how nice it is to finally see one of you guys admit that your class warfare is in fact based on Racism, and that you hold your Racist ideals above American history and values. I wish you guys would be more open to voicing these ideas in public and in person!!!

      • JimPB

        Smilia — The racism that was part and parcel of the Confederacy has faded somewhat but still has a lot of life and vigor.

    • Honest Abe

      Who’s heritage? Why not rename it “Benedict Arnold Way”. He may have also been a traitor, but at least he didn’t wear a dress to attempt to avoid capture.

      • JosephineSouthern

        Honest lying Abe – that dress tale is a farce created by yankee newsman to promote their papers. stop posting lies mr. honest abe
        you should have copied abe to a t.

      • Arlington citizen

        Jefferson Davis did not wear a dress to avoid capture. He wore loose clothes. The Union press convinced everyone that he was wearing a dress. Pure yellow journalism.

        Learn your history before you write about it.

    • Josh S

      Kev – this comment is borderline steve85 material.

      “American heritage?”
      “our culture”

      Yikes.

      And to think I had actually started to kinda think Kevvy wasn’t that bad…..

    • Bluemont

      They weren’t Americans. They tried to leave America, remember, Kev?

      • KalashniKEV

        They were never successful… which means they never ceased to be Americans.

        • Maria

          So if an American started a war against our government and was unsuccessful, you’d consider that our “culture” and “heritage” and have no problem naming roads after the generals who fought hard with them?

        • Josh S

          Uh, they had their own money. Their own army. Their own government. What more do you want?

          Ultimately, they were not successful. But that was very much in doubt for at least a couple of years.

    • bobco85

      Two points:

      1. When did this “attack on American heritage and ‘our’ culture” begin? Please substantiate that statement.

      2. Truthfully, it is part of American culture to rebel against authorities. I mean, Americans rebelled against the British to gain independence because they did not like how they were being governed. The Confederates did the same, except they eventually failed.

      • drax

        Bob, this may shock you, but the reason for rebelling matters. Rebelling in favor of “all men are created equal” is a little bit different from rebelling for the right to keep half of men as slaves.

        • bobco85

          drax, I was trying to give the perspective as it was being seen. I do not disagree with you that the reason for rebelling does matter in a subjective sense, but objectively my statement still holds true that the Confederate states wanted to govern on their own.

          Looking back, the concept of slavery was more acceptable in the South, where the concept of “all men are created equal” was not widely held. The concept of equality of humans has been accepted in modern times in more parts of the world (not as much as it should be, in my opinion), though slavery still persists in some parts of the world.

          • JosephineSouthern

            How come if we are all created equal I don’t have what Bill Gates Microsoft has?
            Could it be that he was born with a better brain than mine.

            I was always taught you are born with what you got and it is up
            to you to take responsibility and make it the best you can.
            Some whites and some blacks do the best they can, others don’t it
            is a personal decision a contract you make with yourself.

            I think you better study this equal thing again.

  • JimPB

    What are the big challenges facing/needs of ArlCo businesses and residents?

    What should the top priorities be for the ArlCo board, the ArlCoPS board?

    • CW

      Street renaming obviously falls in somewhere between dog parks and sandwich boards.

  • John

    It’s called Old Jeff Davis Hwy because that’s where the main road was, before it was rebuilt. So there is a historic relevance to that street name, regardless of the street’s namesake.

    • Josh S

      So just rename it “Old?”

  • Bill Shakespeare

    Mucn ado about nothing.

  • Pip

    Why not rename Arlington to diversityville given Arlington sounds so waspy?

    • Vik

      I know, right? Why not rename Fairfax Dr. to Jerry Falwell Dr. while we’re at it?

      • Homeowner

        Good point. It’s named after Lord Fairfax who was one of our British opressors.

        • drax

          No he wasn’t. He’s not named in the Declaration of Independence as having done anything oppressive.

    • KalashniKEV

      How about “The People’s Republic of Central Kookistan?”

      ;)

      • drax

        Hey, Kev?

        Screw Davis, screw Lee, screw anyone who fought for slavery. To hell with them.

        Just a thought.

        • NomNom

          You realize that the Civil War was not over slavery. Ironically the North wanted to ship all slaves back to where they came, not give them freedom. The Civil War was fought over taxing and tariffs to pay for transportation (continental railroad) that primarily benefited the North.

          • Josh S

            If you say so. By the way, nice tin hat. Where’d you get it?

          • Westover

            The Civil War was about taxes and tariffs that were applied in an attempt to temper the competative advantage provided by slaver. It wasn’t about slavery, except it was about slavery.

            Any side that thinks it was all about slavery is wrong, anyone that thinks it had nothing to do with slavery is even more wrong.

          • NomNom

            I agree. My comment wasnt to suggest it had nothing to do with slavery. Rather it wasn’t all about slavery which is what I read in 95% of these comments.

          • john

            At the beginning of the war, Lincoln tried to recruit Guisseppe Garbilad, the man responsible for the unification of Italy to leadthe Union Army. Garibaldi’s condition …. that the war be a referendum on slavery. Given that nobody reads about Garibaldi in AMERICAN history, we can deduce Lincoln’s decison. Our anvestors are noble and innoble for all the wrong reasons. Whlile there is probably a good point about Davis not having much, if any, connection to Northen Virginia, I don’t believe that we should “whitewash” our history just because it does not meet today’s moral standard. As the great philospher George Satanyna said, ” we must remember our past so as not to repeat it.”. Further, while I am sure it does not apply to the names of roads, there are fedeal statutes that protect monuments to Confederate soldiers, hence the reason the monument to the Confederacy still stands at the intersection of Duke and Prince Streets in Alexandria City. People have literally tried to run over that statute, yet it still stands!

          • Dia

            The statue in the middle of Washington stays there because of state law, not federal. Alexandria tried to move it to a safer location, but a state law passed in the 1920s (I believe) mandates the statue cannot be moved. Also, I believe a state law mandates that Route 1 be named for Jefferson Davis.

  • Brandon C

    Judging by some of the comments, it’s sort of hilarious how difficult it is for some Arlingtonians, let alone Americans to let go of the past and allow current and future generations to change names of streets and culture in general according to the time they’re living in.

    “We can’t rename that street, it’s disavowing our Confederate Heritage!”
    “We can’t tax the rich, that’s socialism!”
    “We can’t give the poor extra services, that’s class warfare!”

    It’s getting old, Conservatives. Most Confederate leaders were racist douchebags, including Jefferson Davis. Lee was likely one of the only exceptions. Virtually every time Conservatives have stood on their side of the line, they’ve always been on the wrong side of history. Progression happens and you can either be a roadblock and impede it, or be part of the conversation as to how it goes down.

    The South will not rise again in Arlington, you can be assured of that.

    • Sick of the overly biased Transplant Liberals in Arlington

      Most Northern Soldiers were actually bigger racists than the Confederate Leaders of the time when you get right down to it. The North was as opposed to slavery for economic reasons as the South held on to them for economic reasons. There were folks in the South who were deeply ashamed of slavery, but saw no other way to survive economically. There were leaders in the North that were concerned that all the Slaves in the south would come north if freed and bring crime and poverty to their cities.

      Lincoln was a Republican, it took Republican votes to pass the Civil Rights Act, it was that evil Conservative Republican, Richard Nixon who gave us the modern Medicare/Medicade system.

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    They should name it after some poor historically unknown confederate soldier who was misled into thinking he was fighting for something ‘right’. Some kid about 17 or 18 who believed some southern town lawyer about being recruited into the great cause.

    On the other hand, Lee and Davis were quite aware of what they were planning to do, attack the federal government.

    • novasteve

      I suppose that’s why the entire civil war took place in the south other than gettysburg..

    • Huh?

      So they should rename it “Unknown Cofederate Soldier Fought for what he Believed was the Right Cause Highway”?

      • Clarendon Cruiser

        Go to any confederate cemetery and just pick a name. They died for nothing.

        • Hattie McDaniel

          They died for nothing.

          If that’s the criteria, we should name it after an Iraqi War soldier.

    • Ellen

      Hey, I’m a liberal! I just think that county dollars are better spent on libraries and other services than changing street signs.

  • http://arlingtondirt.blogspot.com/ TGEoA

    Rename it MLK Blvd and watch property values drop like a stone.

    • Truth

      +1

    • JimPB

      Do you have any relevant data to support your proposition?

      • UnlimitedCustoms

        Anecdotal would be to look at many cities in this country, and the crime rates nearby.

        • Agent Michael Scarn

          Umm… what was there before, the neighborhood, or the street name (MLK)? Most of the streets named for MLK were something else before that (e.g., Nichols Ave became MLK Drive in DC).

          I.e., crime isn’t there because the street is named MLK.

          • Truth

            So then you are saying they like to re name crime ridden streets in honor of MLK?

      • Maria

        Chris Rock’s stand up?

  • JamesE

    Wow, just wow.

  • cj

    A little information, not meant to spoil the fun: The road in question has been transferred from VDOT to county ownership, so the state no longer dictates its name. As the photo shows, the county is currently rebuilding the ragged, pothole-infested back road into a two-lane street with bike lanes, sidewalks and street trees to provide more appropriate access to our new Long Bridge Park. Eventually the Boundary Channel intersection will also be improved.

    The Long Bridge name of the road and park reflects the historic connection with the early Long Bridge across the Potomac.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      Yet a reason cited was “I have a problem with Jefferson Davis.”

    • Arlington citizen

      Yeah. But the historic Long Bridge was in D.C., not Arlington. Just like all of the bridges that now cross the Potomac River into the County. That is because the Virginia shoreline contains the boundary between D.C. and Arlington.

      The name “Long Bridge Drive” will commemorate a demolished bridge in D.C. The name will commemorate nothing in Arlington.

      The D.C. railroad bridge that now crosses the Potomac into Arlington is named “Long Bridge”. But don’t try to reach that bridge on “Long Bridge Drive”. The street does not travel to the bridge.

  • KalashniKEV

    Why are my comments getting “Whitewashed???”

  • NorthArl

    The Bluement neighborhood used to be called Stonewall Jackson. After they changed the name, participation in the civic association went way up. Nobody wanted to be associated with 150-year-old traitors who fought to keep people as slaves.

    • novasteve

      So why did two slave states fight in the Union during the civil war?

      Why was the emancipation proclamation several years into the war, rather than at the beginning, and why did it only apply to rebellious states and not the slave states in the Union?

      Let me guess, you are a product of public school education, right?

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      +1

      It’s way past time to recognize them for what they were. Heck, the Germans did this in less than a generation!

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      There are a bunch of Malcom X Bouldevards too. While he fought for crimes against blacks, he also taught black supremecy and advocated for the separation of blacks and whites which is obvioiusly against the integration movement. So, do you also feel politicians should tell black (and all) Americans that “they have a problem with Malcom X” so those streets should be renamed?

      • Vik

        I think Malcolm X Blvd’s could go as well, but actual traitors to the country should be among the first to go.

        • Quoth the Raven

          To be fair, Malcolm X ultimately changed his mind and dropped the black/white separation angle. But it is true that he started out saying stuff like that.

      • Tre

        For what it’s worth, Malcolm X changed his stance and rejected racism closer to his assassination.

      • drax

        But Malcom X actually changed his mind about all that separation crap. He’s got an autobiography, you should read it.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          Oh…he changed his mind. Let’s name some more roads for him then. You totally miss the point.

          • drax

            What is the point then, OB?

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Same point you are making above about being convicted of a crime. Once guilty, tied to you. I could admit all my crimes and renounce all my sins on my death bed yet I still had those positions and those acts.

            You can’t have it both ways, drax.

          • Josh S

            Actually, it’s called forgiveness.

            Give it a try sometime.

            It makes life more enjoyable.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            If you were so ready to forgive, you’d not have a problem with a road named 100 years ago.

          • Maria

            Just as a point (not agreeing or disagreeing, specifically)… supporting segregation isn’t actually a crime.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Agree Maria. Neither was owning slaves when some parts of our history owned them. None of us certainly agree with that, but we can condemn them for it, right?

          • Josh S

            OB – what makes you think I have a problem with JD Highway? I voted D).

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Josh, not aimed at you unless (of course) you are another drax alias.

          • Steve99

            I thought that was becoming common knowledge.

          • Maria

            OB, yes absolutely, but I was referring more to the people saying Jefferson Davis was a traitor. THAT is a crime, so just comparing that to something you don’t *like* about someone (like owning slaves or advocating for segregation) isn’t really the same.

    • John

      I recall the civic association said it had nothing to do with Stonewall Jackson, the Virginia hero (etc); they had wanted the neighborhood to better reflect the community, which was no longer defined by the local Stonewall Jackson Elementary School, where ATS is housed today. Btw, the school building is still officially, the Stonewall Jackson Building.

      • John

        On the other hand, the Thomas Nelson Page school (todays Science Focus School), was stripped of its namesake without opposition because of Page’s racist writings.

        I would never expect Arlington to change its name, because it honors Lee–it was named Arlington County by an act of the General Assembly. The same goes for our schools throughout Northern Virginia that are named after Confederate heroes. In fact there are public schools named after Lee in a few west coast states. It is a part of our culture whether we like it or not. As most people recognize, coming to terms with our Confederate past is not cut and dried, and there is always room for healthy debate. A few years ago, a substitute teacher in Hampton, VA attempted to have the name of a public school named after Lee changed, but after she researched Lee and his legacy after the war, she dropped her petition.

      • Steve99

        I bet Zimmerman has a problem with the Stonewall Jackson Building too. He sounds like a guy with a lot of little-man problems.

    • John

      Unlike the Stonewall Jackson building, which kept its name, the Thomas Nelson Page school (todays Science Focus School), was stripped of its namesake without opposition because of Page’s racist writings.

      I would never expect Arlington to change its name, because it honors Lee–it was named Arlington County by an act of the General Assembly. The same goes for our schools throughout Northern Virginia that are named after Confederate heroes. In fact there are public schools named after Lee in a few west coast states. It is a part of our culture whether we like it or not. As most people recognize, coming to terms with our Confederate past is not cut and dried, and there is always room for healthy debate. A few years ago, a substitute teacher in Hampton, VA attempted to have the name of a public school named after Lee changed, but after she researched Lee and his legacy after the war, she dropped her petition.

    • Arlington citizen

      I was a member of the Stonewall Jackson Citizens Association when it changed its name. Participation in the Association did not go up after the change. Participation remained the same, despite what NorthArl claims.

      The Association changed its name to Bluemont because the Stonewall Jackson school had recently become the Arlington Traditional School. The change made the name of the Association obsolete, even if the building itself retained the name of Stonewall Jackson.

  • charlie

    I think I could find something wrong with every single street name in Arlington.
    13th Street (North and South) — those unlucky people.
    Arizona Street — state to boycott due to illegal immigration policy
    Shirley Hwy — named after the head of VDOT, and we all just hate VDOT
    Vermont Street — why do we celebrate them but not Rhode Island
    Shall I continue?

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      Because Rhode is an Island and not a Street! :)

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      I think Shirley Highway is now (and has been for some time) designated I395. Old timer…..

      • Westover

        WTOP uses the Shirley Highway moniker all the time, just to throw off the late arrivals.

        • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

          Nice. I need to start listening to them. I wonder if it is just an old time radio guy working there who hasn’t changed. Kind of like how I call the Wizards the Bullets.

    • Clarendon

      Dinwiddie Street is named after one of British Colonial oppressors !

    • Josh S

      No.

  • UnlimitedCustoms

    We need a MLK Ave/Dr/St/RD including both N and S.

  • chris

    .
    I would be interested in the reason why Rt 1 was named for Davis in the first place.
    And what about Wilson Blvd? I am sure he did something bad…..

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      Let’s rename Washington Bouldevard. George Washington cut down a cherry tree which started the massive deforestation in Arlington. He doesn’t deserve a road name here.

      • drax

        Great straw man there.

      • charlie

        which is why we have only pre WWII trees in Arlington.

  • TT

    Arlington county should secede from the Commonwealth because of our Richmond oppressors.

  • T

    I have been wanting them to rename Lee Highway for a long time. JD should be changed too. Maybe 29 can be renamed to honor Virginia’s 29th Infantry Division that landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach on D-Day.

    • Virginia^2

      I assume that you’re not being sarcastic and really don’t know that it WAS?

      From Wikipedia:

      “On April 7, 1993 the Virginia General Assembly officially designated the entire length of US 29 from the North Carolina border to the Potomac River as the “29th Infantry Division Memorial Highway” in honor of that Army unit, which, along with the 1st Infantry Division, formed the spearhead of the American infantry that landed on the morning of 6 June 1944 on Omaha Beach in Normandy as part of the invasion of France to liberate that country during World War II.”

      There is relatively frequent signage along 29 reflecting this.

      • T

        Yes I knew that. I see the “subtitle” name on a sign coming up from Rosslyn. I just think we should make that the real name.

  • David V.

    So people call Jefferson Davis a traitor, yet everyone making comments, LIVE in a state that was the capital of the Confederacy. He was elected to the office by popular vote for a 6-year term and was inaugurated in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, on February 22, 1862. It may not the history that everyone would like, but it is our history. Just rename it to Long Bridge Drive and get it over with.

    • drax

      So? We don’t have to name a street after him, nor everyone in our history. Naming a street doesn’t just remember him, it honors him. We can choose our heroes, and we can change them too.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        The street is already named. If the reason to rename it was to honor someone else, such as a 9/11 hero or similar, then there wouldn’t be a debate at all. But, a cited reason was “I have a problem with Jefferson Davis”. So what? Who the f*** is he to say it should be changed because he has a problem? THAT is the reason the road name shouldn’t be changed. Name it after someone who recently did something special, and we all would embrace it.

        • Vik

          We can rename any street to a 9/11 hero. If we were to try and name Jefferson Davis Highway in commemoration of a 9/11 hero, people would question why we’re renaming that particular road instead of another one. If Zimmerman expressed this afternoon that he would be in favor of renaming it for a 9/11 hero, people would still have a problem and say, “Nope, he already said that he has a problem with Jefferson Davis, so I’m against it.”

    • Vik

      Jefferson Davis was a traitor because if he had his way, the US would have been significantly weakened to an extent where the European powers of the time could come over here and take over things. That’s why the war was about preserving the Union before it was about ending slavery. Emancipating slaves helped end support that the South would have had from Europe, where people had a less favorable view of slavery.

      • novasteve

        Countries like Sweden broke off from Norway. They use to be one country. Would you say the founders of modern Sweden are “Traitors”?

        • Josh S

          Huh? Are you suggesting that JD et al were patriots?

      • Aaron

        The Emancipation Proclamation, which only freed the slaves in territories that were not under Union control, was mostly a propaganda move, for the reason you specify. The slaves in Union states like Delaware and Kentucky were not emancipated prior to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment two years later. Despite the slavery distinction, England and France came very close to recognizing the Confederacy. They might not have been keen on slavery but they sure loved their cotton (and didn’t care much about it was produced) and were not fond of the Union blockade efforts.

        • http://andrewdouglass.com Andrew Douglass

          Actually the Emancipation Proclamation immediately freed 50,000 slaves, and millions more as the Union advanced. President Lincoln also backed the 13th Amendment aimed at extinguishing slavery everywhere. President Lincoln (plausibly) believed his immediate power to free the slaves was limited to his executive war power. The Proclamation prominently addressed enlisting freed slaves in the military. Sure, he acted with complex motives and may not have done all he could, but the widespread revisionist “freed no slaves” line tries to trivialize Lincoln actions and convictions into nothing and is absolutely dishonest.

  • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    • drax

      I can remember the past just fine without naming roads after it.

      Even a fourth-grade history book in a Virginia school can tell me…oh, wait, forget that part.

      • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

        Ah, but the road is already named. You agree with changing it, hence you are naming it to forget the past.

        Yeah…..let’s not talk about real history vs. taught history.

        • Josh S

          Careful about attacking public school education. Cause when you make gross misuse of the principles of logic like you do here: “You agree with changing it, hence you are naming it to forget the past.” you kind of open yourself up to having the argument tossed back in your face.

          Assuming, of course, that you got a public school education. And if it was a private school education, well….

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            Toss away. drax said he could remember the past without naming a road after it. I merely make the point that he’s not naming the road, it already has one.

            And, if you are not aware of entities within this county who have, and are still trying, to change history as taught to public school students then maybe you are the one who should have something tossed back in your face. Check it out.

            Now what was your point?

          • Josh S

            Yeah, I think I did a poor job in articulating what I was trying to say. All I meant to point out was that:
            “You agree with changing it, hence you are naming it to forget the past.”
            is illogical. The first does not necessarily mean the second.

          • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

            I see. Thanks for the clarification. I can see what you mean now.

  • JamesE

    Can we rename anything that has to do with the red coats? It greatly offends me.

    • Thes

      Actually, I do get a little skeeved walking on “King” “Prince” “Queen” and “Duke” Streets in Alexandria. People fought and died in this state so we didn’t have to honor monarchs. I suppose Old Town, like Williamsburg, is sort of a museum where it’s appropriate. But the rest of King Street should be renamed to something less Torry.

      • Steve99

        You left out Queen in Arlington.

  • LVGuy

    screw this debate. I’m still waiting for my Fuhrer Blvd and bin Laden Street. Those people were as much part of American History as Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. As in, they all tried to destroy this country.

    • JamesE

      I would like to own property on Fuhrer Blvd.

      • Vik

        I was going to Godwin this thread earlier when it was suggested that it’s alright since Jefferson Davis was voted in by a popular vote.

        • LVGuy

          All four of these people waged war against the United States. I’m not sure Godwin’s law applies here.

      • Aaron

        It sounds so European, doesn’t it? The property values would probably go up.

        • JamesE

          I will open Mein KampfCakes located at 1 Fuhrer Blvd, Arlington VA.

          • TT

            Are you open on Rosh Hashanah?

          • Clarendon Cruiser

            Apparently, Hermann Goering is a big fan of Mein KampfCakes! He even has the 10 purchase stamp card.

  • KalashniKEV

    1) The fact that so many of the posters here think that the American Civil War was only-just-about-slavery… and that there was a “good guys” side and a “bad guys” side is indicative of their simple mindedness. The causes of the Civil War were far more complex.
    2) The fact that so many of these posters want to suppress historical facts that they find personally and individually offensive is no different than wanting to ban gays from Service or withhold their right to marriage because they find homosexuality personally and individually offensive.

    • LVGuy

      Right, I’m sure you would have no problem if the streets were renamed to Barack Obama Way and Nancy Pelosi Blvde. Aftr all, their presence in American history, whether good or bad, is simply a historical fact.

      I don’t have much of a problem with Lee – he was an American hero before he became a traitor. Jefferson Davis was just a coward, and it’s an embarrassment to Virginians to honor him.

      • KalashniKEV

        How about “Free” Healthcare boulevard with side streets like, “Unemployment Benefits for Life Lane” and “I won’t have to worry about putting gas in my car. I won’t have to worry about paying my mortgage. You know, if I help him, he’s gonna help me Street”

        OK… maybe the last one is too big to fit on the sign… :)

        • Josh S

          Give ‘em the old razzle dazzle
          Razzle Dazzle ‘em
          Give ‘em an act with lots of flash in it
          And the reaction will be passionate
          Give ‘em the old hocus pocus
          Bead and feather ‘em
          How can they see with sequins in their eyes?

    • Suburban Not Urban

      +1

    • Vik

      Slavery was a complex issue as well. Do you think slavery wasn’t so bad because it was better than being in the jungles of West Africa? And being against the dissolution of the United States is not like being against gay rights; nice try.

      • KalashniKEV

        I’ll bet it was Tina’s fault when Ike knocked the crap out of her for trying to “Opt Out” of that union too, right?

    • Loocy

      Kev, I agree with you. Perhaps it shows that I also took “Virginia History” in the 1970s, but you are correct, the causes of the civil war were far more complex than most like to admit.

      Many don’t realize that slavery was not limited to the south. New York City was a big slave trade city for many years; slave labor built most of their early infrastructure. Slavery was not abolished in New York until 1841, only 20 years before the civil war.

      Constantly renaming streets, airports, and schools to reflect current sensibilities is confusing and a waste of money.

    • john

      Hooray to point #1,

      Whaaa to point #2!

    • http://andrewdouglass.com Andrew Douglass

      Actually slavery did cause the war; it just wasn’t the only issue in play. The failed Crittenden Compromise and the South Carolina declaration of secession are some of the extensive evidence, not to forget the slavery-centered run-up in the Missouri Compromise, Kansas-Nebraska Act, the fights of the escaped slaves, etc. What *is* simplistic is to say Davis fought “for” slavery. He had other goals, but unfortunately wouldn’t back down on this particular inextricable one. Perhaps the war would have happened for other reasons, but Southern fears of losing their slaves were central.

      Regardless, Davis may be an important part of history but he is no hero. In a different political climate he might likely have been executed for treason; at best I suppose he was a defector. No hero.

  • CMouse

    I just love people who scream racist, bigot, etc. and talk about racial diversity. Then, they get on a column and bash minorities of Southern Confederate-American descent. Keep the names of those roads. These were men of dynamic personalities that foresaw the coming abuses of FedGov. We now live in a time when the lightbulbs we use to how much water we can flush down the toilet. I say God has vindicated.

    • Maria

      Confederate-American? Really?

      • Josh S

        I wouldn’t worry too much about this. I mean, check out:

        “We now live in a time when the lightbulbs we use to how much water we can flush down the toilet.”

        About as incoherent as you can get.

        • incoherent

          You and drax don’t get it, but I understood perfectly – the government has mandated that incandescent bulbs are not to be bought or sold any longer in the U.S., and a maximum gallons-per-flush established for each new toilet sold in the U.S.

          I can understand the federal government instituting regulations for its own boated bureaucracy, but not for light bulbs or toilets for individuals. Ever heard of dimmer switches to reduce energy consumption or lowering the height of the toilet bulb to limit how much water is flushed every time?

          I don’t need someone to tell me how much water I need to use to flush. Sometimes you need more water (translation so you don’t get confused on the incoherence part again: more flushes). Sometimes, compact fluorescent bulbs give me a headache whereas incandescent bulbs don’t – but soon I won’t have much of a choice. But why stop there? They can just as easily mandate that you’re only allowed 2.5 gallons of water for personal use each day, period, or 1.21 kilowatts per day [NOT gigawatts, and Dr. Emmett Brown is exempted] Tougher to enforce, but still do-able. Eventually there WILL be something mandated that you personally care about or impacts you negatively.

        • Answer Man

          Yet, he makes more sense than you.

      • drax

        LOL

        “These were men of dynamic personalities that foresaw the coming abuses of FedGov.”

        Damn federal government, banning slavery and all.

  • SomeGuy

    Political correctness has run amok in these comments. I’m pretty sure any street named after a person– other than maybe Jesus Christ Blvd or Virgin Mary Way (for Christians)– can be associated with an infraction or something otherwise unflattering about its namesake.

    • TT

      I agree…we should ban street names.

    • Maria

      Maybe we should just stop naming streets after people. Seriously.

      • SomeGuy

        I agree, Maria. That would work. As would everyone not being so uptight about political correctness.

        • Maria

          I agree that there are certainly times that people are a little “too” PC, but I would say that most of the time, people just care about stuff. That doesn’t mean they are only out to be “politically correct.”

          Specifically related to this story, the Civil War/slavery/whatever people want to say this is about isn’t some silly issue like the dog parks or new baseball fields. It’s kind of important, and maybe some people are being disingenuous, but I would guess a lot *actually* feel strongly that a street shouldn’t be named after a person who waged war against our government (a century ago or not).

          Seriously though, I still think we should just stop naming streets after people then everyone can just shut it :)

  • novasteve

    To the complainers of history here supporting the change, the British view american founding fathers are traitors. Yet in London, by the national portrait gallery, they have a statue of George Washington. His ancestral home is also preserved and honored. They even have a low level soccer team there named after the Washington family. Yet the guy was a traitor to them, and fought a war against them, YET they still aren’t throwing fits demanding that that history be removed from their memory.

  • JohnB

    As usual, the Simpsons hit the nail on the head:

    Proctor: All right, here’s your last question. What was the cause of the Civil War?
    Apu: Actually, there were numerous causes. Aside from the obvious schism between the abolitionists and the anti-abolitionists, there were economic factors, both domestic and inter–
    Proctor: Wait, wait… just say slavery.
    Apu: Slavery it is, sir.

    • NomNom

      Spot on. Take notice of my earlier comment and the response I received.

  • JohnB

    Actually, the street should be renamed and not because Jeff Davis was a douchbag, but because there’s already a Jeff Davis Hwy (Rt 1) and it should be brought into compliance with the standard naming convention used in Arlington which names non major thourohfares running north/south starting at the river and moving west with words in alphabetical order starting with one street per letter and a single syllable word and repeating with two streets per letter and two syllable words and so on until you get to Falls Church. Seeing as this road is between Clark and Eads it should start with a D and be a single syllable. Now before you all jump down my throat and point out the numerous examples of where that convention breaks down, don’t. I already know. Just saying that we should use it when we can and only deviate when there is a decent reason like a giant interstate (395/66) is put through your county and eliminates roads etc. Any suggestions?

    • Loocy

      Dove
      Dean
      Drake
      Duane
      Drew
      Duff

      • Thes

        Davis? I guess that’s two syllables…

      • Kathleen

        There was a wonderful speech therapist who worked many years for the Arlington County schools who passed away last year. Her name was Nancy Dove. I think the street should be called “Dove Street” in honor of Nancy Dove. She was an amazing human being who connected with the kids (many with autism and other complex issues far beyond simple articulation issues) like no one else. Of all the speech therapists my daughter encountered, Mrs. Dove was her absolute favorite. I’m going to petition the county to rename the street for Mrs. Dove. It fits into the naming scheme (one syllable, starts with D) and it would honor someone who truly gave her time and talent to the Arlington community.

    • cj

      Actually, county staff and two Board members favored renaming it Clark Street as an extension of the existing Clark Street south of 12th in Crystal City.

      • charlie

        OMG that sounds like a crazy idea that is way to sensible to approve.

    • Arlington citizen

      Why stop there? Have some fun.

      Make up some new names for Old Glebe Road and Old Lee Highway. But don’t change the names if you would like people to know where the roads once traveled.

    • Arlington citizen

      Arlington County is planning to reroute S. Clark Street so that it will be continuous with “Long Bridge Drive”. Although Old Jefferson Davis Highway is now west of S. Clark Street, people traveling north on S. Clark Street in the future will find themselves on Long Bridge Drive without knowing the reason why.

  • In the Know

    You can “whitewash” history all you want but it does not change it!

    You can say the war of Northern Aggression was over slavery but that does not make it so.

    You can hold Abraham Lincoln up as a hero but it does not change the fact that he was a lawyer for the corporate railroads, he was a racist, he forced a war that killed and slaughtered over 600,000 people, condoned the genocide of the Southern people, condoned the destruction of Southern lands and culture, had no desire for the Southern Christian faith.

    Do some searching. See both sides. See the hidden side of Lincoln. See the hidden sides of the REAL story. Read some books not written by the victors! Stop believing the biased Northern lies!

    If the North was right, why are we still fighting the issues today that the South was fighting for in 1861: Liberty, freedom, and YES, state’s rights: Obama care, REAL ID, National Driver’s License, mandates from D.C.!

    • KalashniKEV

      He also did coke. FACT.

      • LVGuy

        Davis was a gay homosexual who did LSD with Muslim clerics who hated America. FACT

    • LVGuy

      I’ll take it from your username that you’re… “in the know”.

    • Maria

      Let me guess… you’re from the south?

    • drax

      Yeah, Lincoln was a railroad lawyer, therefore slavery isn’t bad.

  • OverlySensitive

    Let’s take this a step further – if we’re going to rename all the confederate roads, why don’t we also rename the county too? After all, Arlington was named in honor of Robert E. Lee’s “Arlington House” back in 1920. We’ll live in the most PC county in America, and no one will be offended! ;)

    • Steve99

      How about Carpetbagger Township?

      • OverlySensitive

        Ha ha – Or “Yankee County”

    • Tre

      We are the most sell-perceived-PC county in America… but I still smell plenty of underlying racism

  • MC

    There should be no celebration of the Confederacy – it was the most shameful period in American history, when millions of Americans performed mass treason. Having the hooligan leaders of this treason honored in any form is inappropriate.

    • http://www.exactcom.com.au/proofs/KombiPics/Wrecks/bayBushOvergrown.jpg Overgrown Bush

      The road was named 100 years ago. It has apparently been fine for at least that long.

    • Quoth the Raven

      I wonder what it costs (signage, maps, etc) to change a road’s name?

  • ArlForester

    All worthless dead end streets should be renamed “Zimmerman Way”.

  • Stuart

    Another PC move in the Peoples’ Republic of Arlington. We are not in the South, per se, but why is it some people are considered racist for wanting to recognize a period of American history but others are OK with “white” washing that it ever happened? Go ahead, rename the roadways. Then explain the cost of changing signage, etc. Oh yeah – don’t forget to notify GPS companies, Google maps, Map Quest et al. Remember, no job is finished until the paperwork is done. Flushin’ the cash down the toilet.

    • drax

      Is it simply “recognizing” history, or is it honoring or approving of Davis? That is the central question here.

      We can understand or recognize history without naming roads after it. That implies approval.

      • ArlingtonThenandNow

        It’s not a question of naming a new road after Davis. It’s whether you change the present name. He is an important figure in Virginia history. The name is a remnant of the early development of our highway system. I just don’t see why it’s helpful to erase the name… The name helps us remember how we got here. Historically, and cartographically…

  • jim

    Forester: you are SO right. Zimmerman is nothing but a pompous blowhard. Amazing that politicians of his incompetent ilk can stay in office so long. But that is one party rule for you. I don’t see demonizing Davis while you lionize Robert E Lee. Seems inconsistent to me. And Zimmerman wouldn’t dare attack Lee. But in the end, who the hell cares? Probably the same p.c. nitwits that want to change the name of the Washington Redskins………

    • drax

      Screw Robert E. Lee too. There, I did it for him.

  • Civic Activist

    This “political correctness” has not gone far enough. Let’s replace the County’s name which now memorializes a slave plantation. Let’s replace Wilson Boulevard: memorializing the Democratic President who reintroduced racial discimination into the Federal Civic Service with a recognition the an exemplar of Arlington values: Nidal Hassan.

  • kabrevcus

    i’d like to rename Chris Zimmerman a few things…..

  • Joe Patriot

    Good. They were traitors both!

  • Arlington citizen

    The Arlington County Board did not rename “Old Jefferson Davis Highway” to “Long Bridge Park”. In one of dumbest decisions that Board members have ever made, the Board renamed the street to “Long Bridge Drive”. The vote was unanimous, even though no County advisory committee, County staff member or member of the public endorsed or suggested this name.

    Why was this decision dumb? Because the historic Long Bridge, which was built around 1808 was not in Arlington. It was not even in Virginia.

    Long Bridge was entirely within the District of Columbia, just like all of the bridges that now cross the Potomac River. That is because the Arlington-D.C. boundary is on the Virginia shore of the Potomac River. The entire width of the river near Arlington is in the District.

    The Arlington County Board has therefore commemorated a bridge in D.C. The bridge had less relevance to Arlington or to Virginia than did Jefferson Davis. It was Jefferson Davis who moved the capital of the Confederacy to Virginia and who served in office in Virginia throughout the Civil War. Whatever you may think of Mr. Davis, he was important to the history of Virginia (if not to Arlington).

    But that is no full extent of the County Board’s dumbness. The name of the railroad bridge in D.C. that now carries Amtrak, the Virginia Railway Express and other trains into Arlington bears the name of “Long Bridge”. You won’t be able to react that bridge on “Long Bridge Drive”, as the street does not go there.

  • Tyrone

    The South lost the war….bad. Get over it

  • Gotagrip

    Political correctness run amok. What a fool.

  • chefj

    Bong hits for Jesus!

    More absurd, revisionist shine-o-la

  • Carol_R

    What a way to waste money! Any renaming costing thousands or more of dollars – not just for signs but to update databases for maps and GPS systems. More tax dollars flushed down the toilet to appease “political correctness”.

    Whether you agree or not with the Civil War, I see no point except smallness and nastiness in attempting to rename these historical roads.

  • http://TripDownTruthRoad.com CSAcitizen

    It’s all part of the continued REconstruction by the DC North nation on the South – trying to kill off ANY remembrance of the South nation. We see it as an another attack on the South nation – which is STILL a legal Constitutional nation, by the way ! It is NOT the US in the South – it is the CSA = Confederate States of America. The CSA seceded way before Lincoln was placed in office. It was NOT a “civil” war – the North invaded ILLEGALLY the South nation that just wanted to be left alone. There were always TWO nations here, not one ! Over half of the Yankee people did not agree with Lincoln and wanted the South to win the war, which they almost did – until the 48er’s were called in to ‘burn the South to the ground”. The Yankee people knew Lincoln was wrong in what he was doing. They knew it was Treason. If the public knew the TRUE history of this country they would see things totally different and never believe anything out of DC again – they would know then that they have been fed only lies all these years ! Seek out the TRUTH about Lincoln and America – the Truth will shock you and set you free !

    • LVGuy

      If you dun’t like AMURCA you can move to MEXICO.

  • Alex

    Renaming roads is an egregious and unforgiveable waste of money. The costs would be borne by families, business, and the impact of name changes would haunt clueless visitors for years. How about dealing with Arlington’s gang problem instead? Changing road names is not low hanging fruit.

  • Bobby

    Well if we are going to start renaming stuff, let’s start with everything with Jefferson’s name on it.

  • LVGuy

    It always baffles me how the ones who wave the confederate flag are among the first ones that scream “AMERICA, F*** YEAH” and threaten other Americans who disagree with their vision of this country. After all, here they are, calling other individuals un-American, while they openly support armed revolution against members of the United States military. Pretty cowardly if you act me.

    That’s right. You, waving your confederate flag. You’re nothing but a confederate coward. Be a patriot and get an education.

    But then again, I’m fighting on a blog at 11:20 at night.

  • Tim

    huh? really? Everyone who believes in studying, displaying, or otherwise teaching history and allowing for both stories to be told and don’t want the South’s story to be swept under the rug (apparently confederate flag waving individuals) is someone who call others un-American and, really, this one is good, supports armed revolution against members of the United States military?

    Wow. I am in the military. And I am supporting an armed revolution against myself? Huh? And, oh, by the way, what does this have to do with road names, named after very prominent and distinguished historical Americans?

    • LVGuy

      these people lost their right to be called Americans when they started attacking American soldiers and civilians. They were confederates, and they were traitors.

      • ArlingtonThenandNow

        “Confederate” does not equal “traitor”. Confederates maintained allegiance to their states, which had seceded. (At the time, secession was thought by many persons all over the country to be legal. While Congress had created laws to admit states; secession -obviously- hadn’t been worked out.) “Traitors” were those citizens of the Union who aided the Confederacy.

  • ArlingtonThenandNow

    It’s too bad the ‘re-namers’ think we have to update the names of places and roads to be politically correct. If you don’t like Jeff Davis, that’s ok; most people don’t. But the road should retain his name, if only as a reminder of how complex our history is:

    In 1860- it was not settled and agreed that states had to stay in the Union. Massachusetts and others threatened to secede earlier.

    To clarify, the Confederate States did not ‘resolve to dissolve’ the Union in total; they didn’t wish to conquer the North and destroy the Federal Government. (After all, the Northern mills were the South’s second best customer.) Meaning that secession is not necessarily treason. The CS wished to be left to determine their own destiny, and leave the US to its own… To a certain degree the industrial North pushed the the South into a corner. So, the CS left the Union, and not for the best of reasons; but secession was not illegal. I don’t wish to cheerlead for the CSA. But, there’s no need to kick the dead and defeated, is there?

    We should remember these Confederates whose names we see on our maps are brothers and kin. Anyway, as I read history, it seems that the Confederacy and the Confederates are not ‘Pure Evil’ as some seem to think; they were Americans, too. There was good and bad in both the US and CS.

    Enough rambling, then…

    • Clarendon Cruiser

      Oh really, have you seen the proposed Confederate Constitution, explicitly allowing slavery – would that have been an outcome your would have supported from that war?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confederate_States_Constitution

      I did at the national archives.

      ‘But, there’s no need to kick the dead and defeated, is there?’

      Yes there is, until every child raised in the US realizes what a crock ‘The Southern Cause’ really was. Just like every child raised in Germany knows the horrors of their own facist past.

      Really, what’s the difference between a German WWII labor camp and ante-bellum south?

      • ArlingtonThenandNow

        Do you imply that this writer is ‘for’ the Confederacy? Please understand, I don’t support the Confederacy’s ideals… Slavery is wrong…. (Does one really have to say this??)

        I AM saying that for many living in Maryland or Virginia in 1860 (please remember how different civilization was then), it was difficult to choose sides. It tore apart families… And now to erase the names of people who came out on the losing end is just not…I just don’t see howl it’s good or useful.

        I would argue that if one condemns Maryland, Delaware, etc for enslaving a people, one should condemn the ENTIRE United States. Racism was normal then. Slavery did not exist in a vacuum. Slavery lasted because the North (and Europe) needed it to last -economically. Don’t scapegoat Lee, Davis, etc. as the ultimate and final source or champion of slavery and war in 1861.

        Read “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson or any other balanced history of the period, and then tell me if one can equate the Confederacy with Nazi Germany. (One item to consider, the CSA was not out to conquer it’s neighbors, i.e. the North; it was North that sought to control the South by force.)

        Just for those who need reminding: Slavery is wrong and it’s good the Union won.

        On the other hand —if we start by renaming Jeff Davis Hwy and Lee Hwy, where do we stop? Do we rename all the states that seceded? It really is silly when you think of it. What names can we use that don’t have some bad connotation or backstory somewhere in history.

        • JosephineSouthern

          It is not good the union won – look at what they have done with open eyes not mystified by the lincoln cult.

          We are the only country in the world to end slavery in the lincoln way.
          Lincoln said: “Let them root hog or die” because that is exactly what
          they had to do when turned out of their homes, their jobs, their food source. Why in the world anyone can say slavery is free is beyond the pale. To buy a slave you paid upwards of $1000.00 real money, then you maintained them in a healthy state from cradle to grave. The only thing free is the government check that arrives at their door every month, and you workers are the slaves of the state providing this.

  • Dia

    The historic Long Bridge built around 1808 was not in Arlington. It was not even in Virginia. Actually, you’re correct. When the bridge was built, the area was actually the District of Columbia. It was Virginia before 1800 and after 1846, when the area that was given to the Distric was retroceded back to Virginia.

  • I against I

    Jefferson Davis Highway -Cupcakeway
    Lee Highway- Flipflopway

    done deal

    Don’t ask Alexandria to make the name change, OK

  • Lou

    Funny thought just came to my mind. Tim Kaine lives on Confederate Avenue in Richmond.

  • Jeff

    it is amazing how many Yankees have moved into Virginia. So many inaccurate statements. So much hate and disinformation. Go back to where you came from. Please.

    • Maria

      “So much hate”
      “Go back to where you came from.”

      Well… at least you said please.

      • Steve99

        There’s nothing wrong with “hating” the willfully ignorant.

        • TCE

          …espcially when they’ve bought into the southern myths.

  • JBendy

    The councilman should have kept his ignorance to himself. Pres. Davis is a great historical figure, like Lee and Washington and Jefferson and Franklin. Renaming a short potholed road actually did Davis a favor, the good main road is still intact. Should have named the short road Zimmerman Mire.
    Good reading — “The South Was Right” by the Kennedy brothers.
    Anyone been to Arlington Cemetery lately? Stop by and see the beautiful Confederate Memorial. One of the Southern soldiers depicted is a free black man; there were about 100,000 free blacks who took up arms and fought FOR the South, since the war wasn’t about slavery. Secession was the watchword, and it’s legal; secession was taught in West Point as part of the foundation of the nation’s creation. After the war, the US Supreme Court found that secession was legal and there was no treason committed by the South; the court also found that the North was constitutionally wrong in invading the South. That’s the written history. Don’t listen to PC rewriters like Zimmerman.
    Union General Ulysses S. Grant is widely quoted as having written, in an 1862 letter to the Chicago Tribune, that “the sole object of this war is to restore the Union. Should I become convinced it has any other object, or that the Government designs its soldiers to execute the wishes of the Abolitionists, I pledge you my honor as a man and a soldier I would resign my commission and carry my sword to the other side.”
    (Jeff Riggenbach, “Why the Terrible Destruction of the Civil War” (Ludwig von Mises Institute: May 6, 2011)

  • drax

    Just noticed that the Selma marches in Alabama in 1965 were on a road called “Jefferson Davis Highway.”

    Maybe the county could put up historical markers along our Jeff Davis Highway about the marches, turning it into a true and more meaningful recognition of history.

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