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A petition without apostrophe (or smarts)

So I’m from a small New York town, Mahopac. It was a pretty excellent place to grow up back in the 1980s. Trees. Pools. A big lake. Biking to town, buying bubble gum and a soda at Rodak’s Deli, coming home to catch fireflies in a cup or play pickup hoops in my driveway.

Ideallic.

But there was always this thing. This uncomfortable thing. And it was that Mahopac—my hometown—was sorta narrow. There were very few Jews, and even fewer African-Americans. A couple of Asian families, a couple of Persian families. But mainly white, Catholic, working class. That came with certain things. Beliefs. Expectations. A strict right v. wrong ethos that—to be honest—never really coincided with my family’s right v. wrong.

I digress.

Over the past few days, there’s been a petition going around suggesting that Mahopac High School (where I graduated in 1990) change its nickname from “Indians” to something else. Here’s the link. And, really, it’s a hard case to argue against. “Indians” just isn’t a thing any longer. They’re “Native Americans.” Or, if not “Native Americans,” the specific name of a tribe. And that’s a positive development—both in terms of historical accuracy and cultural sensitivity. Truth be told, it’s a long time coming.

But, of course, in 2019 the ignorant and sheltered among us feel more empowered than ever. Hence, there’s a follow-up petition headlined DO NOT CHANGE MAHOPACS MASCOT OR TOWN LOGO. And—because God is great—whoever started the petition doesn’t know that “MAHOPACS” requires an apostrophe. (I’ll take a stab that said person isn’t super well-versed in the history of the Native American people.)

But I digress. The anti-petition petition is a thing of beauty. Let’s count the reasons …

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1. If you’re going to make an argument on the value of a nickname and its relationship to a place for learning, don’t, eh, straight-up rip off a Wikipedia entry and pass it as your own

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2. If you’re one of the three people who decided to LIKE a post, at least make sure the post being liked: A. Uses “their” correctly; B. Uses “then” correctly; C. Doesn’t involve the image of a child who died tragically—while simultaneously saying “FU crybaby liberal.”

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3. Argue that “tradition matters” when you’re debating the tradition of a less-than-a-century-old school vs. the traditions of a peoples who were here looooooong before you were.

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4. This one I’ll just allow to speak for itself …

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5. My favorite argument—one that spreads across the petition—is “people need to stop being so fucking sensitive!” Um, you’ve started a petition because it’ll hurt your little butts to change the mascot of your football team. Let’s reconsider this one.

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6. I’ll let this one speak for itself, too.

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7. I’ll mention this again: At last check nearly 1,500 people took time from their busy days to sign a petition over a sports team’s nickname switch. Who’s triggered here?

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8. So here’s one that gets me. I can say, with great confidence, that 98 percent of the people signing this petition are either full-throated #MAGA or just Trump supporters who picked him because he wasn’t liberal. Either way, this idea that the potential changing of a mascot is somehow “losing our country”—while the sitting president has undermined both the FBI and the CIA while placing pressure on another country to dig up dirt on a political opponent while repeatedly lying about his role on 9.11 while spending 4 1/2 years insisting the sitting president of the United States was a Kenyan-born Muslim … well, um. Yeah. No.

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9. This actually makes a strong argument, unintentionally: Change the nickname to the Wappingers. Case closed, problem solved.

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10. If you don’t like the school mascot, don’t live here. Simple as that. Yes, you bought an affordable house with nice neighbors and proximity to your mother’s home in nearby Brewster. But no Indians, no Mahopac for you! Motherfucker!

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Anyhow, I’ve decided to take action into my own hands. Please sign my petition, giving anyone who signed the pro-Indians petition a free cookie!

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