Publication information
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Source: Land of Sunshine
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Workings of Idle Minds”
Author(s): Lummis, Charles F.
Date of publication: December 1901
Volume number: 15
Issue number: 6
Pagination: 473-74

Lummis, Charles F. “Workings of Idle Minds.” Land of Sunshine Dec. 1901 v15n6: pp. 473-74.
full text
Philippines (renaming as McKinley Islands); William McKinley (death: public response: criticism); McKinley memorialization.
Named persons
William McKinley.
The editorial (below) appears in a section of the magazine titled “In the Lion’s Den” (pp. 470-79).


Workings of Idle Minds

     Doubtless there is no real need to take heavier weapons than a switch to those whose disengaged minds urge that the Philippines be re-named “the McKinley Islands”—with or without the consent of any other nation. For these would-be godfathers are so visibly “traitors” that they cannot expect to impose on any one who has a sense of humor. They are trying to work-off damaged second-hand goods for a monument—as promoters of which they would claim a first-class reputation.
     If they cannot think of any better way to honor the dead [473][474] than by tearing out leaves from the geography, they should at least be respectful enough to choose a better page. That of the Philippines is a sore and shabby one. If they had cared as much about the nature of the compliment as they do to be able to strut afterward as the persons who paid a compliment to a great man dead, they could have done better. The United States, for instance, is a country of the first-class. None of us are secretly sorry it is on the map; none of us are wishing some one would “help us let go of it.” To have it named after him would be a crowning honor to the greatest man in the world. Why do not these sly belittlers come out and launch a popular movement to change the name “United States” to “McKinleya?” If the people approve of the change, it will be made; if not, not. But these conspirators further insult the dead by proposing to paste his name upon a country whose people do not approve. This, of course, is a thing only a Cæsar—and a very stupid Cæsar—would countenance. Prest. McKinley was a man whose head and heart would have revolted at this barbarous folly of the Intellectually Unemployed.
     Let us, so far as possible, try to remember President McKinley and the Philippines at different times of day. Let us remember him in the evening—a great popular President. His page is written. Let us remember them in the morning—as part of the day’s work. For their page is not written yet; and no man knows how it shall look when we are done with all the writing and erasing and blotting and interlining we must do.
     Of course, no one who knows or respects history or human nature ever puts forward these absurd propositions to wipe out centuried and geographical names, and to re-christen a nation; and certainly no one of reasonable tact would think of it as an honor to any man to name after him a Pig in a Poke.



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