Uh Oh .. It’s Confederate History Month in Virginia [UPDATE]
Matt | On 07, Apr 2010
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) is off to an ass-backwards start to his term as the state’s chief executive.
Today, McDonnell designated April as Confederate History Month. This has sparked a lot of opinion in the state, as well as in the news, blogs, and talk radio. It’s a pretty controversial move, considering that the past two governors (both Democrats) wouldn’t touch that proclamation with a 10-foot pole.
The proclamation was requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They want to acknowledge the history of the Confederacy, it’s role in American history, and the significance of Richmond, Virginia as the capital of the Confederacy. The timing is perfect for them because April 17 is the 149th anniversary of the secession of Virginia from the United States, around the start of the Civil War.
Gov. McDonnell had the following to say about his proclamation:
“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.”
I will admit that knowing your history allows you to NOT repeat it. But, here’s the catch. Nowhere in the proclamation does it mention the word SLAVERY! You know, it’s the main institution that built the wealth of this country and was a major dividing point (Hello .. Secession!!!) between the Union and the Confederacy. The governor says that the proclamation is not focusing on the state’s slavery past. WTF??
How does one form their lips to discuss the Confederacy and NOT mention slavery?! That’s like talking about weight gain and never mentioning the role food played in it. Both the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and the state’s NAACP office are up in arms about the proclamation. They will be speaking out further on this very soon. It’s an obvious historical slight to a major part of American history affecting millions of people.
We must remember that while it is honorable to remember the past, we cannot divorce ourselves from the reality of the whole truth of the situation. It is only be fair to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifices that slaves played in the Confederacy, and afterward in the state once they were free.
UPDATE: Gov. McDonnell finally acknowledges, “The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake.” OH REALLY BOB?!?! You don’t say… He added a slavery clause to the proclamation. Way to flip-flop there in less than 12 hours!