I was both embarrassed and flustered to read last week that my Congressman - Henry Bonilla - has introduced legislation in the House to change the name of 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C. to Ronald Reagan Boulevard.
There really is no excuse for something like this. Bonilla is not stupid so I don’t know whether he is doing this just to try and further ingratiate himself with his party’s core of right-wingers who worship Reagan like some kind of demi-God or whether he is just demonstrating that he can be a first-class jerk.
First, there is no dearth of honors that have already been heaped on our 40th president who has the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in D.C. dedicated to him. But that is not enough for the cultish Reagan worshipers out there who won’t stop until they get Reagan’s mug chiseled onto Mount Rushmore next to Washington and Lincoln. There is already an organized effort by radical conservatives to have something named after Reagan in every county in the United States. So far they have succeeded in naming more than 63 streets, buildings, schools, etc. after him.
But 16th Street in D.C. is going too far. The significance of 16th Street is that it has given the White House its historic address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Second, the District of Columbia is one of the most heavily Democratic areas in the nation and having some Republican congressman from Texas waltz in and rename one of their major thoroughfares after a Republican icon is little more than a slap in the face.
Fortunately, Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee which has jurisdiction over Bonilla's legislation, recognizes this and has called Bonilla’s bill "ridiculous" and said he would put it in the "appropriate file."
"If Congressman Bonilla wants to name anything else, he has to look at his own district in San Antonio," Davis said.
I certainly hope not. If Bonilla really wants to honor the memory of Ronald Reagan then perhaps he should join with his widow Nancy Reagan in supporting federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and other debilitating diseases. But since he refuses to do that then maybe he should just shut up and quit embarrassing his constituents back home.
I see via The Jeffersonian that some angry D.C. residents want to retaliate by renaming The Riverwalk for former D.C. mayor Marion Berry. Cinncinnatus has an even better idea of renaming some streets in the city’s heaviest Republican areas after former President Bill Clinton. But the one name I would like to see changed is the one that hangs on the offices for the 23rd Congressional District from Texas.