Once again I find myself having to explain a way for the left to not see a victim in any given scenario.

Last month, Beacon Hill was less interested in things like how to help homeless veterans or how to help lower-income families stay in Boston through the gentrification sweep, or even how to help the elderly stay in their homes instead of being pushed out with surging taxes.

The Democrats on Beacon hill were instead focused on much more "important" matters like banning Massachusetts schools from using Native American images and names as mascots. That's what matters most. Vital to the everyday lives of the citizens here, well enough that it was prioritized over the list above.

The Town of Dartmouth is preparing to obey the law and if this bill passes, the Dartmouth Indians and their respectful choice to have the Wampanoag Indian as mascot, will have to toss their brand, their team and school pride for decades in the trash can.

A lily-white State Senator from North Hampton, Democrat Joanne Comerford, and her bill S247 will force Dartmouth and all schools here to see themselves as insulting oppressors and find another mascot.

Comerford is also a campaign manager for MoveOn.org, a radical leftist organization that has in the past called Iraq War hero General Petraeus a "traitor," running a full-page ad in the New York Times to do so.

In July of 2017, WBUR interviewed tribal elders at the annual powwow of the Wollomonuppoag Inter-Tribal Council in Attleboro over the mascot issue. Eighty-year-old Whippoorwill was quoted as saying, "If anything, it's a sign of respect. Because of course, you don't want your team to lose! So you pick on people who can stand up and be brave. I think of it as a compliment."

WBUR also reported that the older powwow attendees agreed that the mascots didn't offend them so long as they were presented respectfully.

I think the Town of Dartmouth has come up with a logo, mascot and tradition that is absolutely respectful. The small population here has built a brand in sports, music and other competitive groups that makes everyone proud.

I also think it is a disgrace that some whackjob perpetual victims-in-waiting scour the society looking for things to offend them, and then we all have to bend to this neurosis.

That is not to say that the mascots can't be insulting. Some are designed in a way that allows one to consider how it could be viewed as offensive. The old Cleveland Indians logo comes to mind.

Getty Images
Getty Images

As a kid, I loved that logo! It reminded me of a Loony Tunes cartoon. But as an adult and after becoming educated on the sobering history of the mistreatment of Native Americans throughout the European and then American expansionist centuries here, one can easily see this as an undignified depiction of the noble Native American warrior.

I would not stand in the way of calls to change it.

But with Dartmouth and many other schools, that is not what we are talking about.

Team mascots are usually choices connoting a local pride or indicating someone or something to be respected. The Dartmouth choice of a local Wampanoag warrior, shown in a simplistic, dignified profile, is hardly conducive to ridicule or disrespect.

Without the Wampanoag tribe in particular, the Pilgrims of Plymouth do not survive their first winter. The colony is a failure. American history–world history–is radically altered. The French, Spanish, Dutch and English territorial claims would have certainly changed the face of the planet today were it not for the epic cooperative relationship between Chief Massasoit and Governor Bradford from the very beginning.

No tribe is owed more by America than our own locals here in eastern Massachusetts. For that distinction, they get shafted with federal recognition denials later than 1937, casino snubs, etc. It is a travesty that this particular tribe should never have had to face.

The awful treatment of Indians here by the British, once they seized control of Plymouth and Massachusetts Bay, is the stuff made for horror movies. All the sworn agreements between Bradford and Massasoit were tossed to the side and the tribe was pushed further and further from the vital seashores they had used to survive for countless centuries.

They were pushed away, murdered, dragged away to slavery or forced to hide in areas not known to them where rival tribes eventually killed many of them for invading their territory.

The Dartmouth choice for a mascot honors the Indian. It also helps to keep alive an opportunity for people to look into the history of what was done here. It adds to our responsibility to remind us all of who was here, watching in silence when a boat set anchor in Plymouth, when strange-looking and funnily-dressed people exited it and built an unfamiliar style of camp.

These Indians depicted on the sides of the helmets of Dartmouth High School approached these strangers who came from the ocean and who were obviously doing things wrong in late 1620 and would certainly die without their help.

The law is awful. There are veterans, homeless to help, taxes to deal with that are hurting people, budget battles, a drug epidemic and really far more important matters than to shame people into seeing something they were proud of become something they should suddenly condemn, because some overly-bored victim seekers found yet another thing that could be offensive at a glance.

Why don't you politicians search as hard for the answers to our real problems as you do to find offended victims-in-waiting? Better yet, why don't you sit and listen to tribal elders?

Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at ken.pittman@townsquaremedia.com. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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