Pride goeth before the fall. Virginia’s Governor Bob McDonnell thought it a fine idea to reinstate “Confederate History Month” in the Commonwealth, a celebration that had lapsed under the previous two governors. In his initial proclamation, he omitted any reference to slavery and he has now apologized for that omission and sought to correct the mistake.
Hello? The omission of a reference to slavery was only half the problem. The Civil War was an insurrection. It was an act of treason. It did not undermine, it defied the Constitution. Alas, with Republicans in Texas talking about secession (let’ em go, I say), and South Carolina politicians invoking “nullification” and a variety of Southerners invoking “states rights,” McDonnell probably does not want to call the Confederate cause what it was. Shame on them all. And, for the record, if there are two words that have uglier associations in modern American political history than “states rights” I do not know them.
I love the South. I was fortunate enough to live there for a few months and enjoyed my time, my neighbors, my church, the culture, all of it. There is a side to southern exceptionalism that is quite charming and lovely. And there is a side to it that is shameful, preferring to live in the dreamland, “Gone with the Wind” view of the most evil and tragic event in the history of the Republic. Apologizing for his neglect of slavery in his proclamation is insufficient. McDonnell should rescind his proclamation and let April be “Happy to Still be in the Union” month. Otherwise, the feds should cancel (nullify?) all payments to the Commonwealth for the month of April and see how he likes that.
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