Apparently taking down Confederate monuments wasn’t enough for students of the University of Southern California (USC). Now – cue the music to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone – they want the school to do away with the popular trojan horse because it bears the same name as the mount of General Robert E. Lee.
And this, my friends, is only the tip of the leftist iceberg.
Since 1961, a white Arabian horse (or similar) named Traveler (spelled with one “l” while Lee’s horse had two “l”s) has been performing at USC home football games along with his human trojan warrior. This well-loved tradition started as a one-time performance after Richard Saukko was seen riding his horse in the Rose parade. Saukko used costumes left over from Charlton Heston’s role in Ben Hur to dress for the event. It was such a success it quickly became a tradition – one that has been going strong for 56 years – but now that beloved custom is in jeopardy.
During a rally to show camaraderie with Charlottesville, the co-director of the USC Black Student Assembly, Saphia Jackson, asked students not to be quiet and reminded them that “white supremacy hits close to home.” When asked about Traveler’s name, USC referred the LA Times to its website:
USC’s mascot horse is a symbol of ancient Troy. Its rider, with costume and sword, is a symbol of a Trojan warrior. The name Traveler, spelled with one ‘l,’ is a common name among horses. . . . USC’s Traveler is and has always been a proud symbol of Troy. There is no truth to any other claims or rumors about its name.
Saukko passed away in 1992. His widow, Pat Saukko DeBernardi, said the horse had already been named Traveler in 1958 when Saukko purchased him. The horse had been in movies, including “The Ballad of a Gunfighter” and “Snowfire,” but had turned ill-tempered and had to be sold. “That’s how I got him so cheap,” she said. “A few months later, he’d become so gentle again, people wouldn’t believe it was the same horse.”
Reporters started contacting DeBernardi, which didn’t surprise her. “The problem is this: maybe three weeks ago it was fine. So now the flavor of the day is . . . we all have to be in hysteria. . . . It’s more of a political issue. The horse isn’t political and neither am I.”
Hysteria is right. People are running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to make sure they don’t offend anyone – a nearly impossible feat in today’s society – and it’s rapidly getting worse. Recently, the council in Lynch, Oregon decided to rename schools and any other buildings that bear the town’s name. What’s the problem with this? Lynch was the name of the founding family more than 100 years ago, who also donated the property on which these buildings were built.
Even more recently, ESPN reassigned a sports announcer to prevent his coverage of a football game in Charlottesville – you know, because his name is Robert Lee. Did we mention Lee is Asian?
And what did ESPN have to say about its decision?
“We collectively made the decision with Robert to switch games as the tragic events in Charlottesville were unfolding, simply because of the coincidence of his name,” ESPN said in a statement. “In that moment it felt right to all parties. It’s a shame that this is even a topic of conversation and we regret that who calls play-by-play for a football game has become an issue.”
There was no problem with Robert Lee’s name until ESPN created one. Are there any players or coaches expected at the game with a similarly Confederate name? Would they be forbidden from taking the field? The world has gone crazy. People spend too much time looking for something that “may” be found offensive – if enough attention is brought to it, of course. Historical monuments are being taken down at an alarming rate. School mascots are being challenged as racist because they happen to share the name of a Confederate general’s horse from more than a century ago. Towns are removing founding families’ names from buildings, and people are being removed from positions simply because of their names. When will this madness end?