Since the Navy announced that it is naming a cargo ship after civil rights leader and labor activist Cesar Chavez, the conservative fever swamp has piped up and cried foul. In a post headlined "USS Cesar Chavez? Why Not the USS Saul Alinsky?" blogger Matthew Vadum called Chavez a "far-left leader" and a "disciple of communist sympathizer Saul Alinsky." Vadum went on to connect Chavez to ACORN founder Wade Rathke.
Worse, Glenn Beck compared the naming of a ship for Chavez to naming one for Josef Stalin:
This plays on the ancient smear that all labor activists and union leaders are communists. In fact, according to a 1995 report from the Los Angeles Times, a review of Chavez's 1,400-page FBI file showed that "no evidence of Communist or subversive influence was ever developed."
This is a transparent attempt to latch onto a non-existent press hook in order to smear labor unions and a civil rights hero. As such, we'll limit ourselves to three facts that indicate what a waste of time this is:
- Per a FoxNews.com article, the name for the ship was not suggested by the administration, but by the manufacturer, General Dynamics.
- The name of the vessel is completely in keeping with other ships in its class, all of which were named for explorers or pioneers within their field. For instance, one of the ships was named for civil rights leader Medgar Evers.
- Stalin was a dictator who killed, deported, and inflicted forced labor on millions of his own people; Cesar Chavez is widely recognized as a Latin American civil rights visionary. There are parks and streets named for him. His birthday is commemorated by several U.S. states. The comparison is offensive.