Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell looks to take Virginia back to its Confederate past

It's always great when Republicans show their true colours, isn't it? Take what Gov. Bob McDonnell is doing in Virginia:

Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has quietly declared April 2010 Confederate History Month, bringing back a designation in Virginia that his two Democratic predecessors -- Mark Warner and Tim Kaine -- refused to do.

Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore issued similar proclamations. But in 2002, Warner broke with their action, calling such proclamations, a "lightning rod" that does not help bridge divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia.

This year's proclamation was requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

I get that a great many Confederate soldiers died in the Civil War, and they ought to be remembered in some way. But Confederate history? Let's see...

-- Slavery? Check.

-- Rebellion? Check.

-- A bitter, divisive legacy? Check.

-- The antithesis of progress, enlightenment, and America's purported ideals? Check.

Does McDonnell really need to appease his pro-Confederate constituency? Won't the Sons of Confederate Veterans vote for him, and any Republican, regardless?

Or does he just happen to have a real soft spot for the Confederacy, for what it stood (and went to war for), and for all that it continues to represent?

Whatever the case, it's a terrible, terrible decision, a big gubernatorial middle finger to every black person in Virginia, to every person who would have been deemed sub-human by the Confederacy, as well as to every good and decent person in that state and beyond.

But what a truly Republican decision, too -- especially in a state where there is a clear dividing line between the two parties on this issue. At least we know, quite clearly, that Virginia Republicans are pro-Confederacy while Virginia Democrats are trying to bring their state past its ugly past.

Virginians, it seems to me, along with Americans around the country, should consider that when they head to the polls.

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