There was at least one bright spot in this year’s election. The voters of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations refused to change the name of their state, despite the whining of three legislators, Joseph Almeida, Anastasia Williams, and Grace Diaz. Those three were offended over the word “plantation,” feeling that it referred to the system of slavery in the South.
That, of course, was nonsense. The plantation in question was founded by Roger Williams as a haven for those who sought religious freedom. The attempt to change the name was blatant political correctness, without even the excuse of actual offense. The colleagues of Almeida, Williams, and Diaz put the ballot measure up for a vote because they were afraid of giving offense.
The problem here is fear and ignorance. Politicians believe that voters know nothing. They believe that we will be placated by sound bites. In this one case, though, the voters possibly proved otherwise. I do wonder if the vote wasn’t just one against political correctness, but I’d like to believe that it represented an understanding of history. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations needs to be celebrated as an early example of the separation of church and state in America, an example of our commitment to individual liberty.