Last week, a local baseball fan proposed renaming Paul Manafort Drive, a street that had been given that name to honor a former mayor. The fan’s hope was to honor World Series baseball hero George Springer, a New Britain native - and he justified his choice by pointing to the alleged misdeeds of former Mayor Paul Manafort’s son, who bears the same name, noting that Junior has been indicted for conspiracy against the United States.
Current Mayor Erin Stewart rejected the idea - correctly, we believe - noting the senior Manafort “served his city, state and our country with admiration.”
Mayor Manafort, who died in 2013 at the age of 89, was a World War II veteran, who came home from Europe to work in the family business, before serving three terms as mayor of his home town. And that’s the place where he earned a laundry list of honors, including the naming of a street for him at Central Connecticut State University in 1994. It was an honor that, at the time, his city believed he deserved.
As we see it, little has changed since then.
We can’t help noting that, if everyone was judged by their descendents - or, for that matter, their forebearers - our nation would have few heroes. And if we so lightly bestow honors that the designation could be taken away only a year or two after the honoree died, they would be meaningless.
Moreover, Manafort the son has not been convicted of anything, though scandal does seem to swirl around him.
As for George Springer, there are many ways to honor his World Series achievement that don’t involve taking something away from someone else.