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The following letter from Dr. Ken Shelton, George Allen's former teammate, was sent to Raising Kaine and other Virginia bloggers.  It's very interesting and very powerful. Bolding added by me for emphasis.


An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Shelton
September 30th, 2006
Hendersonville, NC
To Whom It May Concern:

I am a former teammate of Senator George Allen of Virginia.

Why do I think Senator George Allen was a racist? George told me that he came to Virginia because he wanted to move somewhere where "the blacks knew their place." He used the N. word often, except in the presence of blacks.

George provided nicknames to many of his team players. He asked me if I was related to Robert Shelton, at the time an Imperial Wizard of a group affiliated with the KKK. I said "absolutely not." Despite this, he nicknamed me "wizard."

After a successful deer-hunting trip on family land of Billy Lanahan near Bumpass, VA, George asked our hunting companion, Bill Lanahan, where the local blacks lived. George placed a severed deer head in their large mailbox. This occurred not long after the film the "Godfather" was released featuring an intimidation scene with a severed horse's head. 

Why have I come forward? Because this is the right thing to do. I must clear my conscience. This media firestorm has no advantage for me and severs many friendships I hold dear.
It is my moral obligation and I believe my civic duty to let the voting public know the young George Allen. We all have indiscretions of youth that we would prefer to forget but when the future of this country is at stake, questions must be answered and proof provided that George Allen has changed.

I come forward at personal embarrassment for allowing myself to be a silent observer of George's misdeeds.

Why now? When I viewed the incident of Senator Allen addressing a native born Virginian with the term "Macaca," I saw the "bullying condescension " of the George Allen I knew over 30 years ago. Until the "Macaca incident," I was unaware that George was up for reelection.

When I was called last week by Michael Scherer, a reporter for, he asked me questions about George's racial past. I answered his questions honestly and that has brought us to this point.

I offer my apologies to the voters of Virginia. I have not lived in VA since before George was elected to any public office.  Meanwhile George has ascended political heights that I could not imagine.  I did not come forward sooner because I thought someone else would speak and I hoped that George would fade from the public's eye so that I could bury these events.

Earlier this year when I heard that George was testing the political waters for a potential presidential bid, I realized that I could wait no longer and began compiling written memories I had shared with others over the years.  [My] intent was to bring these facts out early in the presidential campaign to accomplish the same goal I have now. To make the public aware of George's past and to let them make their decision of his fitness for office.

I would do this whether George was a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I am not political nor partisan. I donate to, write letters on behalf of, and vote for the best candidate regardless of party.

For speaking from my heart and being honest, I have been apparently been called a liar. My response? "George can't handle the truth." To be branded a liar is a response I expect from George.  I am surprised it did not come with an epithet attached. All I did was to tell the unvarnished truth.

There are pivotal moments in your life where you have to take a stand based on your morals and ethics. I failed the day of the deer head in the mailbox and have lived with my conscience ever since.  I have learned a hard lesson and hope this can go to every parent. Teach your children that silent observation of misdeeds only makes it worse. It makes you an accomplice. They must speak up to injustice.

I ask others to come forward.  Listen to your heart and clear your conscience.


R. Kendall Shelton, M.D.
U.Va. College of Arts & Sciences '75
U.Va. School of Medicine '79

P.S.  Dr. Shelton's friend who forwarded the letter added:

Note: If there were no statute of limitations on honor offenses as used to be the case at U.Va., we would likely be awaiting an Honor trial of a sitting United States Senator.

[UPDATE: On a related note, check out this amazing graphic to understand the spider-web-like interconnections between George Allen, the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the Free Congress Foundation, the White Freedom Party, and Sun Myung Moon - among others. For the full story, see Kathy Gerber's amazing diary here. Thanks.]

Lowell Feld is Netroots Coordinator for the Jim Webb for US Senate Campaign.  The ideas expressed here belong to Lowell Feld alone, and do not represent those of Jim Webb, his advisors, staff, or supporters.

Originally posted to lowkell on Sun Oct 01, 2006 at 07:02 AM PDT.


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