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You’re Celebrating WHAT?: Virginia Governor Declares April “Confederate History Month”

You’re Celebrating WHAT?: Virginia Governor Declares April “Confederate History Month”

I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia for the first eighteen years of my life, and consider myself only a temporary resident in the fair state of New Jersey, where I go to college.  So naturally it hits home when the governor of my home state does something abysmally offensive – although I may need to start getting used to it, at least until Bob McDonnell’s term is up in 2013.  I’ve been consistently horrified by him since he started campaigning for the governor’s seat last year, and pleaded with Virginian Care2 readers to do everything to keep him from getting elected last November. 

Sadly, he got elected anyway.  And he has already begun wreaking havoc declaring during the State of the Union response, “We are blessed here in America with vast natural resources, and we must use them all.”  Head.  Desk.

But today, he actually managed to top both his master’s thesis, where he said that working women were “detrimental” to the family, and his dubious policies on the environment, when he announced that in Virginia, April will now be “Confederate History Month.”  Other governors have done the same, including George Allen, of the infamous “macaca” incident.  It does not seem to occur to them that perhaps Virginia’s role during the Civil War is not something that should be…celebrated.  Or that doing so might seem, I don’t know, racist. 

More shockingly, slavery was mentioned nowhere in McDonnell’s proclaimation.  Because clearly, in this version of revisionist history, the Civil War was just about a noble Southern struggle for independence.

Growing up in Virginia, it was hard to avoid the legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction, particularly the pervasiveness of segregation.  I attended an elementary school that closed during massive resistance in 1959, and spent much of my high school career engaging in activism surrounding Charlottesville’s pronounced racial and socioeconomic divisions.  This is an issue that upsets me deeply, because my daily experience was marked with the scars of Virginia’s racial turbulence. 

Nostalgia for the Confederacy enshrined by our government sends a hateful message to everyone who works to heal the deep racial divides that began when the first slaves arrived in Virginia in 1619.  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was known as Lee-Jackson-King Day (because clearly, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson should be praised in the same breath as Dr. King) in Virginia until 2000 – and this is exactly the same kind of statement. 

In his statement, McDonnell justified the declaration of the month, saying, “This defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians.”  Well, Governor McDonnell, I’m here to tell you that there’s no chance of that.  I just wish that April was the only month when we had to be reminded of the racial inequality that still threads through Virginians’ lives.

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135 comments

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7:46PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

Thank you Johnathan Y.
Native son Robert E. Lee was very much opposed to the dissolution of the Union. He only accepted command of the Southern army out of loyalty for Virginia. Though he was himself a slaveowner, both before and after the war he wrote in support of Abolition and believed slavery was evil for all races.

Since the Civil War has ended there seems to be a non stop reminder of it. The reasons for slavery & all the hatred that still stews over the issue of it. People will not let go of it. And in turn that not letting go will never solve anything now or in the future.

Do bear in mind there are five areas of topics that no one can seem to agree on & many hit other people over the head for whatever their opinion may be on any one of them:

Race
Religion
Abortion
Politics
Global Warming.

Plant & protect trees for life..................

7:21PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

To be absolutely fair, if they're going to celebrate 'Confederate' history month, then we should also celebrate 'Union' history month! To ignore any side is to ignore American history - what McDonnell has done is in fact, very partisan and very un-American!

Native son Robert E. Lee was very much opposed to the dissolution of the Union. He only accepted command of the Southern army out of loyalty for Virginia. Though he was himself a slaveowner, both before and after the war he wrote in support of Abolition and believed slavery was evil for all races.

1:37PM PDT on Apr 13, 2010

Absolutely not! Let's not celebrate the things that divide us. How can it be positive to celebrate that????????? I know, when you always say NO, positives thoughts aren't the things on your mind.

11:11PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

Judith wrote:
P.S. FYI, I have two beautiful black daughters and I know many well-educated, thoughtful, gainfully employed, very intelligent blacks who don't go around robbing and murdering people

So, who cares!! Do you want a medal of honor? Many people marry & have children of different minority origin!!!!!

And, again this has nothing to do with the state of Va! Does it......This has nothing to do with the topic of this thread!!!!!

Stay on the topic.......It works!!

Plant & protect trees for life.................

4:42PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

One more thought since you went there. Many black people, through not having the opportunity to attain adequate education or the absolute inability of black men in particular to compete fairly in the job market, if not for direct discrimination in housing, do not have a choice to live in anyting but squalid conditions. That does not make it right for American Indians to live in squalid conditions; but let up already. No one is disputing that American Indians have been treated unfairly, but get over your pompousness. Go visit an inner city school for a day and see if maybe you might come away with some more compassion or understanding. When you stop blatantly pointing out your hatred, I will stop calling you out on it. Fair enough?

4:34PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

B.M. I am most certainly not stalking you. I read many of the threads of many different topics. The only ones I see your name on are ones dealing with hatred of blacks, and when I can understand your comments, it appears that you are either jumping all over blacks or wholeheartedly agreeing with anyone else who blatantly hates blacks. And I do not understand your logic that if I do not hate blacks, I must hate American Indians.

I just think you could be doing something more productive with your time than trashing blacks.

P.S. FYI, I have two beautiful black daughters and I know many well-educated, thoughtful, gainfully employed, very intelligent blacks who don't go around robbing and murdering people.

3:17PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

This topic & thread is not to be overflowing with your comments on my comments!
If you really want to vent some anger at whatever then by all means write to the govenor of Virginia!!!
He might even answer you.......You never know.

Plant & protect trees for life...........

2:50PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

Judith S. wrote:
As I recall, living on an reservation is a choice that is available but not mandatory.

Really?! Many N/A can't afford to move from those reservations! Many do not have heat in the winter!
Where oh where have I made remarks against blacks?
PROVE IT!

I comment on many different topics here on Care2. Seems all you care to comment on are my comments & racial matters!!!

I hand out green stars to those who make sense on whatever topic. I've not seen your name much of anywhere on any topic.
It is possible you are speaking for other people who are gutless in speaking for themselves? Are you being a puppet for others?
Can you even make a constructive comment opposing what others write, think or believe without being accusatory about it?

Are you in charge of how other people comment that agrees only with you? How many times have you heard I have many black friends & have anyone believe them or laughed at?

Same as you say about N/A & blacks. And, who on earth cares who you have for friends anyway! I don't care at all. It is none of my concern!

And your last comment has nothing to do with this topic whatsoever!
If you don't like my "opinions" then ignore them. It's real easy!
Also, I'm getting tired of you stalking me all over Care2. But, for all of my comments on whatever you are never there.
Is this the only topic you care to comment on?
I suggest you read the lastest on this govenor!

Plant & protect trees for life....

2:43PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

B.M. I have been "following you around for quite some time now" because you have made some of the most ignorant statements I have read on any of the threads. I just cannot believe some of the stuff that comes out of your mouth. The vast majority of people on these sites say some quite intelligent things.

2:38PM PDT on Apr 10, 2010

B.M. One more thing. Do you have a life? Why do you keep trying to look up people's profiles?

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