The Rebel

Matt Sweet

America was founded by revolutionaries. Ever since the American Revolution the US has had the reputation of fighting for what it believes in and standing up against tyranny. This idea has become synonymous with the American spirit and this is the theme that Walpole High School’s Rebel mascot embodies, not that of the Confederacy.

Admittedly, Walpole does have superficial ties to the Confederacy. John Lee took over the Rebel football program in 1968 and as the team improved, the program won more notoriety. Due to Lee’s leadership qualities and his ability to control his players Coach Lee was nicknamed General Lee by the general populous. Also, independently from the school and majority of students, a few individuals have been known to bring Rebel Flags to football games. These are Walpole’s only ties to the Confederacy, and they are loose at best. In actuality, Walpole’s Rebel Mascot stands for America’s belief in challenging the norm and enacting change.

The idea of the Rebel is associated with the American identity, that of pushing boundaries. For example, in the 1960’s young Americans challenged the framework of the society. They rebelled against the religious ideals that led people to live very disciplined lives. Elvis Presley and James Dean, with the introduction of Rock N’ Roll, embodied the spirit of change. Movies, such as Easy Rider captured the essence of the times, when young kids fought against the tight fisted morality of the age. This “hippie” movement that called for “stickin it to the man” swept the nation, as people protested Vietnam and called for equal rights, all the while experimenting with drugs and sex and the idea of living your own life. This idea of being a rebel without a cause and charting your own course is what the Rebel Mascot mascot stands embodies.

Today, the Rebel idea of amassing change has calumniated in the presidency of Barack Obama, America’s first black president. During his campaign for presidency, Obama’s platform was change. He claimed to know the inner politics of Washington, and how to change them. He capitalized on the country’s disapproval of the Republican party and asked the nation, “ Are you better off now then you were eight years ago?” Many Americans still call for change, hoping that they can correct what they think is wrong. Protesters dispute the United State’s involvement in the Middle East and think that the U.S. is just trying to flex its military muscle. Critics of the past eight years blame George W. Bush for starting an unnecessary war and call for the return of all troops, trying to cut loses. Aside from the War, people publicly denounce the government’s economic failures and environmental challenges. Tax and healthcare policies are perennially questioned, as well, because people are never satisfied and look to shake things up, in hopes of making things better. This idea of reform, in an attempt to improve quality of life, is what is behind the American identity and conversely Walpole’s mascot: the Rebel.

Walpole uses the Rebel as its mascot because the Rebel inspires students to push boundaries. It  shows kids that change is a good thing and that they, like the Rebel, have the ability to enact it.