31 August 2006

A Modest Proposal on the Naming of the State Currently Known as West Virginia

(this post is an expansion of a comment I made at Pastor Jeff's website)

West Virginia enjoys many distinctions, it's got coal, and errrr. . . . . . . . mountains, and errrr. . . . . other stuff that I'm just forgetting about right now.

It's main distinction and defining feature in the national consciousness, however, is its political representation. Sen. Robert Byrd has proudly served 47 years in the Senate for West Virginia, longer than any person has served in the Senate, and he seeks another term. He's served both at the state and federal levels as a representative of the people of West Virginia for 60 of his 88 years. Many people have lived and died their entire lives in West Virginia with this man representing them in some capacity.

With that longevity comes privilege, and with that privilege he has provided an impressive list of largesse to the good people of West Virginia in the form of various buildings, roads, bridges, et cetera. A partial list of things named for Sen. Byrd include such notable structures as, Robert C. Byrd Expressway, the Robert C. Byrd Hardwood Technologies Center (please no Viagra jokes), the Robert C. Byrd Intermodal Transportation Center (and Parking Garage), the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center, and the Robert C. Byrd Visitors Center at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park (contrary to popular belief, Sen. Byrd did not himself participate in the Battle of Harpers Ferry, he was away at the time). A fuller list of places named in his honor can be found here.

There's one honor that has alluded him thus far, however. Given that the good folks of the state currently known as West Virginia are almost certainly going to grant Sen. Byrd an unprecedented 9th term in the Senate, I modestly propose that they also rename the entire state. Their state shouldn't have to share its name with Virginia. Their's is the only state with a directional adjective where the partnering state doesn't also have a directional adjective. This has always condemned West Virginia to seeming as a mere afterthought and appendage to the 'real' Virginia (and given the historical realities that West Virginia was cleaved from Virginia, that perception is somewhat true). The best way to change that would be to rename the entire state.

Given that West Virginia has never had a favorite son they have chosen to shine so much favor upon, it seems only natural that the good folks of West Virginia should rename the entire state in his honor.

After they elect Sen. Byrd to his 9th term in the Senate, West Virginia should henceforth be known as . . .


I already have their new state anthem picked out (see the video below).

This would be an obvious choice for 'official state instrument'.

This, however, will remain now and forever their 'official state tool'.

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