New Park Names
Chris Herrington's article about Helena, Arkansas ("Looking South," March 14th issue), gave me some ideas about the renaming of the three parks in Memphis.
Forrest Park could be renamed Emancipation Park. The general's statue and grave could remain to remind us of the facets of ourselves from which we as a nation and as individuals strive to emancipate ourselves. If Forrest really had a change of heart in his later years toward a certain segment of the citizenry, as some historians claim, he would be quite honored by the sentiment. The SCV boys in their play-soldier uniforms can still march around him and bang their drums on their holy days. What the hell, they're basically harmless old fellows.
Confederate Park could be renamed Battleview Park. The replica cannons can remain, because it is, after all, a legitimate Civil War site. Perhaps a more fitting tribute would be an interpretive center detailing the brief river battle that ended Memphis' existence as a Confederate town, but that is not worth the argument now.
As for Jefferson Davis Park, let's face it. Other than a brief stopover, the man has no legitimate Memphis ties. Ship his plaque to Biloxi or to his birthplace in Kentucky. Rename the park for Ida B. Wells. Give her one all to herself. She deserves it, and who better to surrender his place in line than old Jeff? Surely, he'd be gentleman enough to agree.
I was a little disappointed and surprised that a smart, cool writer like Chris Herrington would write that someone spoke "Filipino" ("Undeniable Journey," March 14th issue). That is not a language, and it made me cringe a little reading it. Just so you know, Filipinos don't speak Filipino, as was mentioned in the otherwise interesting article about the Journey front man.
[Please see sections 6–9 of Article XIV, 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. — Ed.]
The New Pope
I was delighted to learn that the newly elected pope chose for himself name of St. Francis of Assisi, generally known as patron saint of animals. Indeed, Catholic and Anglican churches hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of October 4th.
On one of his nature walks, Francis reportedly preached to the birds and is often portrayed with a bird in his hand. On another occasion, Francis concluded a pact with a ferocious wolf that was terrorizing local townsfolk, whereby the wolf would quit preying on the town's sheep in exchange for being fed regularly. He even persuaded local dogs to stop harassing the wolf. He freed a rabbit from a trap, returned caught fish to their stream, and fed half-frozen bees in wintertime.
I hope that Pope Francis will inspire Catholics and all persons of goodwill to show nonhuman animals the respect and compassion they so richly deserve, particularly when it comes to subsidizing their abuse and slaughter for food at the checkout counter.Morris Furman
The GOP Budget
I just read the latest Republican budget proposal. It's the usual "protect our endangered billionaires" policy and the same anti-middle-class, anti-poor tactics Republicans are known for.
They want to abolish the Affordable Care Act, stripping 60 million Americans of health insurance. They want to give seniors a couple of hundred dollars to pay toward $10,000-a-year private insurance policies and abolish Medicare. They want to extend the age for receiving Social Security until after you are dead. They want to be sure your surgeon can amputate the wrong leg and then simply say "Oops! Sorry!" and cruise off to their lake house in their Bentley without so much as a slap on the wrist for their incompetence.
But they're not totally heartless. They want to keep all those tax breaks for the struggling oil companies that make a paltry few billion in profits every quarter. They want to make sure that all our sorely oppressed millionaires and billionaires continue to pay a lower tax rate than their maids. They want to deprive prospective college students of education funding so that the elite will have an ample source of maids, pool cleaners, and butlers.