The USNS Cesar Chavez!? You’re Kidding, Right?

I nearly spewed my coffee this morning when I saw the blurb:

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced May 18 the selection of the USNS Cesar Chavez as the 14th Lewis and Clark-class of dry cargo/ammunition ships.

An ammunition ship, no less.  I would have had normal breathing had it been a hospital ship, for example.  Even a plain old supply ship (no ammo) might have been, even if still odd, not too objectionable.  But an ammo ship!

Chavez is the best known American advocate, after Martin Luther King, Jr,  of non-violent means to change festering social problems.  He gathered around him those who believed likewise, and with few exceptions, they acted so.  Dorothy Day famously stood on his picket lines.  Ralph Abernathy of SCLC came to Delano to help out.  Chavez fasted to bring attention to issues, and to bring followers back to the path of non-violence.  Regular training was held to ensure picket lines and leafleters in the cities and on country roads maintained discipline and refrained from provocative behavior.

“Non-violence is not inaction. It is not discussion. It is not for the timid or weak… Non-violence is hard work. It is the willingness to sacrifice. It is the patience to win.”

And yet the objections now spewing on the internet are not because of the choice to bestow the name of a man of nonviolence on a war ship, but because he was not war-like enough.

  • Does the Navy have no shame? Nauseating, smarmy politics…I can think of several Latinos that deserve this honor far more than Comrade Chavez.
  • Absolutely disgraceful and emabarrased to be an American today and have a naval ship named after a person who served 2 years and hated it. With all the people who have died in service of our country, who never bad mouthed our country and who served a life time honorably; how in God’s name can you justfy naming a ship after a labor organizer????
  • Absolutely appalled at the ship being named after Cesar Chavez…

Almost makes me re-think my own opposition. Then there are those who really ought to know better.  Long time spokesman for Chavez and now for a foundation associated with his name, Marc Grossman, says:

“The naming of this ship honors not just him but all Latinos who have built and defended this country,” Grossman said in a brief interview. “That’s why Cesar’s family is very proud that this fine vessel will bear his name.”


Check it out.  Here is the fine ship….

The USNS Cesar Chavez class of ship

Dear, dear, dear.  How some people lose their way, if they ever had it.    I’d like to know who put Chavez name in Secretary Mabus’ ear.  I hope to Cesar it was not his family, or certain California Senators.

I think the Marine strike helicopters should be re-designated the Mohandas Gandhi Peace Keepers….  And for pete’s sake, how about these predator drones being called Martin Luther King equalizers?

Let’s get back to his vision and create a world-wide association of Service Centers focused on helping the 99% help themselves to roll the steamrollers of the 1% off their backs.