VA Gov. McDonnell Longs for the Confederacy, Slavery Not ‘Significant’
April 7, 2010
(ChattahBox)—- Since his inauguration in January, the Republican Gov. of Virginia, Bob McDonnell, has been busy transforming the Southern commonwealth into a right-wing mecca. The devotee of televangelist Pat Robertson, first issued an executive order excluding gays from state discrimination protections. Now, McDonnell is angering civil rights leaders, by issuing a state proclamation declaring April Confederate History Month. The proclamation calls for Virginians to “understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.” Glaringly absent from the language is a reference to slavery. McDonnell knew what he was doing. When asked about the exclusion of anti-slavery statements in his racially charged Confederate manifesto, he responded that slavery was not “significant” enough to be included.
McDonnell defended his Confederate declaration, saying it’s intended to promote Virginia “tourism” by drawing attention to the upcoming anniversary honoring Virginia’s secession from the Union on April 17, 1861.
What sort of tourists would such an anniversary attract? Mike Vanderboegh for one, a 57-year old former militia member from Alabama, who called for “patriots” opposing the healthcare reform law to throw bricks through the offices of Democratic lawmakers. “To all modern Sons of Liberty: THIS is your time. Break their windows. Break them NOW, he wrote on his “patriot” blog Sipsey Street Irregulars.
On April 19, Vanderboegh will be a featured speaker at the “Restore the Constitution Open-Carry Rally” held at Fort Hunt National Park, VA. The purpose of the rally is to parade around armed to the teeth, “as close to DC as possible.” April 19 was deliberately chosen as a special date for the open-carry rally: it’s the same day Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and also marks the end of the Branch Davidian siege outside Waco, TX.
McDonnell is apparently happy with his new militia patriot tourism:
“McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because “there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia.”‘
For the past eight-years Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, did not issue the controversial Confederate proclamations. Previous Republican governor Jim Gilmore issued multiple Confederate proclamations, but he also recognized slavery.
His 1999 proclamation stated, “WHEREAS, slavery was a practice that deprived African-Americans of their God-given inalienable rights, which degraded the human spirit, is abhorred and condemned by Virginians, and was ended by this war.”
And when Republican Gov. George Allen didn’t include acknowledge slavery in his proclamation, he apologized in the wake of significant criticism from his constituents and civil rights leaders.
McDonnell, apparently doesn’t care about the criticism, believing the move will boost his support with the far right-wing. But former Democratic governor L. Douglas Wilder, called McDonnell’s actions “mind-boggling” and a distortion of history.