- - Friday, June 20, 2014

Legally, as we are supposedly a society of laws, the Redskins trademark is and remains private property (“Redskins trademark canceled by U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” Web, June 18). Historically in existence since 1933, the name is intended to be an honor representing bravery and the indomitable spirit named after Lone Star Dietz, an American Indian coach of the football team.

Despite the historical context, if the public truly objected to the hypothetically negative connotations of the name it would have boycotted the team long ago. After all, people vote with their feet and their wallets and the people have clearly spoken: Despite not having won a Super Bowl championship since 1991, the Redskins brand remains a marquee franchise worth $1.7 billion, making it the third most valuable team in the NFL.

Indeed, The Washington Post’s 2013 poll of Washingtonians on the subject found that two-thirds of respondents advocated no name change. More to the point, 90 percent of American Indian respondents told pollsters from the Annenberg Public Policy Center in 2004 that the name was not considered a racial slur.

So what is this really about? Why do 50 fiddling, busybody Democratic senators with apparently nothing better to do sign a letter advocating a name change? Further, why would the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office attempt to strike out of existence a Washington institution? What happened to the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by the First Amendment? Isn’t this political correctness run amok?

What has truly changed in recent decades is the orientation of the Democratic Party. Liberalism used to mean going your own way. In truly Orwellian fashion, it now means statism: banning the things you don’t like in the name of “tolerance” and making the things you do like mandatory for all. It means using the mechanisms of government to “reward” your friends and “punish” your political adversaries.

The debate over the name of the Redskins is just the latest iteration of this disturbing dynamic. Times do change, but not always in favorable ways. President Obama’s America of 2014 feels eerily like George Orwell’s “1984.”

DAVID L. HUNTER

Germantown