Reagan uber alles

Naming craze: Let's wait till our leaders have left us before we start creating monuments to them.

May 01, 2001

WHEN WILL this hero-worship end?

Gung-ho admirers of former President Ronald Reagan still want to put his name and image on buildings, monuments and even traffic signs. All to "honor" a living, Republican ex-president.

That obsession prompted Republican Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia to try to bully the Washington Metro board into changing signs at National Airport to read "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport." The Metro board refused. It would cost $400,000. The airport's already named for him, although everyone knows the place as National. Besides, renaming stations is against Metro policy.

So Mr. Barr tried to block all Metro funding in Congress. What an embarrassment to his colleagues. Congress has no business telling a local transit board what to name its subway stations.

Will Mr. Barr next seek a congressional law renaming Baltimore's fish tank the Ronald Reagan National Aquarium? Or make it the Ronald Reagan Aberdeen Proving Ground? Or turn the president's Catoctin Mountains retreat into Camp Ronnie?

Why the rush to put their hero's name or likeness on -- we're not kidding -- Mount Rushmore, the $10 bill and the National Mall?

Maryland had its own ego-glorification craze when adoring followers of William Donald Schaefer sought to get every conceivable building, museum room, road and rest stop named for the then-governor before he left office.

This year, legislators named a Senate annex for Thomas V. Mike Miller, though he's still Senate president and in good health.

Enough already!

We should honor our former leaders after they have died. Give historians time to reflect on the weight of their contributions.

Besides, Congress has real work to do. Or is it just Mr. Barr who has extra time on his hands?

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