Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Virginia Governor Endorses Confederacy, Slavery

In a not so surprising move, Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has declared April to be Confederate History Month, essentially fitting with the historical revisionism found throughout the conservative movement. On the governor's website, there were a couple points that I thought to be conflicting.

McDonnell issued the following regarding Confederate History Month:
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history.
But, just previous to this statement, McDonnell wrote the following:
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present
Now, if you follow my thought process, then you would clearly see why there is something wrong with McDonnell's proclamation. While he states a reason for the Civil War was slavery, and that slavery was "an evil and inhumane practice," McDonnell also calls for the residents of Virginia to honor those who made sacrifices to preserve the institution of slavery.

Apparently, McDonnell's initial proclamation neglected to mention anything about slavery, and the governor issued an apology. While the proclamation was amended, I see the addition as only conciliatory, because it fails to address the problems with the Confederacy, painting the rebels as freedom fighters of the South, who tried to bring an end to an unjust system (the federal government). To McDonnell, slavery was not "significant" enough to list as a reason to celebrate Confederate History Month, despite being evil and inhumane.

Ta-Nehisi Coates, of The Atlantic, wrote a short piece titled "Proud Of Being Ignorant," summing it up concisely, stating that "the GOP is, effectively, the party of willfully unlettered Utopians. It is the party of choice for those who believe global warming is a hoax, that humans roamed the earth with dinosaurs, and that homosexuals should work harder at not being gay." McDonnell's designation of April as Secessionist Worship Month only offers further proof that the Tea Party movement and the GOP aim to rewrite history in terms positive to conservatives, whitewashing American history for themselves while paintings liberals and progressives as subversives aimed at destroying America, although I would argue that they are doing more harm then good entertaining the beliefs reserved for the fringe of society.

1 comment:

  1. If the GOP could return to the era of Jim Crow laws, they would.


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