From the Billings Gazette:
Trustees, though, were drawn to Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to U.S. Congress who holds the distinction of being the only representative to vote against involvement in both World Wars. Her named garnered the most votes on a community survey last month, but it was last among student preferences.Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States--Rankin voted "present" in the war declaration vote on those two Axis powers.
"I don't think we step back from the potential of controversy just because it's a (person's) name," trustee Janna Hafer said. "I think we at least consider it."
Earlier this year, the board chose to name the Heights middle school after Crow scholar and war hero Joseph Medicine Crow, despite the name's poor showing on public surveys. The decision to disregard the surveys and the recommendation of a volunteer committee drew criticism on social media and prompted a Heights group to formalize its grievances in a letter to the board.
Trustees on Tuesday spoke with admiration about Rankin's famous vote against WWII, addressing concerns that it might rouse anger among those who might consider it unpatriotic. The vote against declaring war on Japan in the wake of the attacks on Pearl Harbor drew harsh criticism from her political peers and effectively ended her political career.
Rankin should have researched St. Augustine of Hippo's writings on a just war.
As for Joe Medicine Crow, he's a World War II hero--and a centenarian. Trustees: Make an old man happy and celebrate America's triumph over evil.