And while that has nothing to do with Ed and Dollie Lynch, it has much to do with the park that is planned for northwest Vancouver.
It also has much to do with how this nation is attempting to reconcile its past, balancing educational history with modern mores. At a time when monuments to the Confederacy are slowly but rightly being relegated to museums rather than the public square, the manner in which we display our history is under scrutiny.
That has people concerned about the prospect of Lynch Park urging the city to reconsider. “The attempt to separate the word and the surname erases history,” Cecilia Towner of Black Lives Matter Vancouver told The Columbian. “The word, deed and name began intertwined and they continue to be … at least for black people.”
Last year, the Centennial School District near Portland renamed three elementary schools — Lynch Meadows, Lynch Wood and Lynch View — to extricate the negative connotation. Like the proposed Lynch Park, it was named for a family and not some abhorrent history.
No simple solution
But we digress. The difficulty surrounding the Vancouver park is that there are no clear solutions. Lynch Park would, understandably, call to mind a painful history for many Americans, both black and white. And if that history is traumatic for some of our neighbors, who are we to tell them they are wrong? The most insensitive among us will decry political correctness, but sometimes political correctness is simply correctness. The alternative is being incorrect and intentionally offending people.
In that regard, it is much different from the issue of Confederate monuments in the South. Guess what: Confederates were traitors who fought against the United States in defense of slavery and lost. They deserve to be remembered but not honored, and commemorative statues of them are tributes to people who were losers — both morally and militarily.
The same cannot be said of Ed and Dollie Lynch, who have posthumously been dragged into a controversy not of their making. As their son, Michael, said, “Our hope is one day the park will benefit our entire community while honoring Ed and Dollie Lynch as it was intended and promised to them over 15 years ago.”
In the end, city officials should listen to concerns on both sides, and advocates should strive for compromise. If the official name is Ed and Dollie Lynch Memorial Park and locals shorten it to Memorial Park and the area includes a plaque or a statue honoring their vast contributions to the community … well, that might be the best we can do.
Because sometimes a name is more than simply a name.