Lately we’ve had occasion to discuss and debate the wisdom of naming yet another public work for a living and kicking politician — specifically, the extremely awkwardly named “Lt. Governor-Senator André Bauer Interchange.”
The tendency — for me, at least — is to think of this as a South Carolina phenomenon. I’ve generally had the impression that folks in other parts of the country generally wait for politicos to die, or at least retire, before naming stuff after them — if only to avoid the embarrassment after said politician does something that makes “The Daily Show.”
I learned today, though, that at least to The Wall Street Journal‘s William McGurn, this is enough of a problem on the federal level to write about it within a national context.
Still… when he offered a list of some of more egregious — or at least, funny sounding — such monuments, a South Carolina example topped it:
Few would begrudge, say, the naming of a ship after a former president, or a park after a retired legislator known for a lifetime of exemplary service. Our modern representatives in Washington, however, are disinclined to wait for retirement or risk the judgment of history. So from sea to shining sea, they clutter our nation with such landmarks as the James E. Clyburn Pedestrian Overpass, the Thad Cochran U.S. Bankruptcy Courthouse, the Tom Harkin Global Communications Center, the C.W. Bill Young Marine Science Complex, John D. Dingell Drive—all named for current members of Congress.
Maybe he only started out with it because “James E. Clyburn Pedestrian Overpass” sounded goofier than the others, but I like to think he was acknowledging how hard we try to distinguish ourselves in this field in the Palmetto State. It would be such a shame for us to be upstaged by some other state in a national forum such as this. We don’t get credit for much, so don’t take this away from us.
What’s even worse is that overpass has rarely been used in all the years it has been there.
I’m less bothered by naming an existing stretch of road after someone than I am by the total waste of tax dollars spent on that overpass.
I’ve seen more people running across the road 100 yards down the road from the overpass than actually using it. I’ve traveled under that overpass at least a thousand times and can count on one hand the number of people I’ve seen using it.
A monument to government waste. I expect we’ll be seeing the empty Innovista buildings dedicated to Bobby Harrell any day now.
Let’s just name stuff for dead people. Seems like there are plenty of them. How about the Jack Lalanne PE building or the Sergant Shriver Peace Corp. Center. There are plenty of folks to name things after that won’t embarass us later.