Bob Franken

The Shame of Virginia

Sometimes, when something is so outrageous, I prefer to take a breath and hold off writing something even though it means I am a little late for the immediacy and instant gratification that is so essential in these hyper-cyber times.

This is one of those occasions. After thinking things over, I am moderating what I want to say.

What the HELL, Governor McDonnell!!??? WTH?!!!

Damn. Leaving any mention of slavery out if your proclamation commemorating Virginia’s “Confederate History Month”” is not an “omission” as you are now calling it, it is plain old racism. You belated reversal and belated acknowledgment that slavery may have been a teensy weensy problem, one that “…may have left a stain on the soul of this state and nation” was clearly a political expedient, a hasty retreat. So apology not accepted. It goes beyond insensitive.

Governor McDonnell, This is no better than Germany deciding to proclaim a “World War Two History Month” with no mention of the Holocaust.
Normally, comparisons to the Nazis in public debate are overwrought, but this time your “major omission”, as you hastened to call it, cannot be forgiven. It’s not like the abomination of slavery was a secret.

First of all, why in heavens name should the Confederacy even be honored? It was an effort, you might recall, to rip apart from the country you profess to love. And while it is true that the thousands upon thousands of rebel soldiers were cannon fodder, innocent victims, that was also true of the German troopers who fought on behalf of the maniac Nazi leaders.

How could you forget that first and foremost, the Confederacy was created so whites could capture, sell and abuse blacks…treat them not as human beings, but livestock. Yes, Governor, you did have a “major omission” didn’t you?

What’s next? Shall we celebrate Virginia’s more recent history with a Jim Crow Festival? Think of the possibilities. We can yearn for the legally segregated schools of just a generation ago.

Maybe we can serve the food at counters separated by race, and water fountains and rest rooms and public entrances. Transportation can be provided by buses where any blacks could be forced to sit in the back.

The highlight of the event could be a cross burning and a performance by hooded night riders.

This, after all, was the legacy of slavery. While it was abolished when the Confederacy was, it’s grotesque vestiges remained…a few still do.

So Mr. McDonnell, it shouldn’t be ignored. That’s mind-boggling. Somebody who overlooks it loses any claim to be Governor of all the people.

Some are suggesting that during Confederate History Month, decent people should boycott Virginia. The problem is that also does economic harm to the blacks who are now free and choose to be residents of the state.

They are the descendants of slaves. In case you’ve forgotten.

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