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Crossposted from the Motley Moose

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has declared April, 2010 as "Confederate History Month".  I am certain that Malia and Sasha Obama will be warmly welcomed to the ceremonies by the Governor himself.

WHEREAS,  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;

On the Governor's website we also see a proclamation of February, 2010 as "Black History Month".  Personally, I am looking forward to the "Black Confederate History Month" proclamation, including the "Commemorative Wearing of Chains Day" and the "Flog a Disrespectful Slave" events where people of all backgrounds can take a turn acting out the daily rituals of their forefathers.  I hear the funnel cakes are going to be made with extra powdered sugar.

I understand the desire to come to terms with the past, but I don't think this proclamation has anything to do with the past.  It seems to me that it is entirely about the political future of one Virginian Governor.

The photograph was taken on Smith's Plantation, Beaufort, South Carolina, not far from where Michelle Obama's great-great-grandfather Jim Robinson lived as a slave.

Original proclamation in full (underlining and associated interpretation mine):

Confederate History Month

WHEREAS,  April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and

WHEREAS,  Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every  region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and

IOW: "Defended their virginal white wives from the rapacious heathen bastards of the North, who to this day want to send big black men to deflower the white children of The South, in a time that was much more Real American than what the Marxist Kenyan Usurper in the Yankee Capital is imposing on the graves of our Glorious Dead today"

WHEREAS,  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; and

WHEREAS, Confederate historical sites such as the White House of the Confederacy are open for people to visit in Richmond today; and

WHEREAS, all Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, the surviving, imprisoned and injured Confederate soldiers gave their word and allegiance to the United States of America, and returned to their homes and families to rebuild their communities in peace, following the instruction of General Robert E. Lee of Virginia, who wrote that, “...all should unite in honest efforts to obliterate the effects of war and to restore the blessings of peace."; and

IOW: "Just to be clear about this, pound-for-pound we kicked Yankee ass and in a fair fight would have ground those liberal New Yorker city-folk into the red southern mud"

WHEREAS,   this defining chapter in Virginia’s history should not be forgotten, but instead should be studied, understood and remembered by all Virginians, both in the context of the time in which it took place, but also in the context of the time in which we live, and this study and remembrance takes on particular importance as the Commonwealth prepares to welcome the nation and the world to visit Virginia for the Sesquicentennial Anniversary of the Civil War, a four-year period in which the exploration of our history can benefit all;

IOW: "this study is of particular importance as it comes during my tenure as Governor and you just know I'm going to play it for every dime of Real-American good-ole-boy backwoods conservative Revivalist-Come-to-Jesus political fodder as I can possibly manage"

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert McDonnell, do hereby recognize April 2010 as CONFEDERATE HISTORY MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.

IOW: "with this proclamation you can read the tone of every political position, foreign and domestic - that I will be taking until the Ritual Re-enactment of the Final Betrayal on April 9, 2015

"Amen."

Update [2010-4-7 18:55:32 by chrisblask]:  The Governor has issued an apology for leaving slavery out of the proclamation designating April 2010 as Confederate History Month:

Governor Bob McDonnell issued the following statement today regarding the proclamation of Confederate History Month in the Commonwealth

"The proclamation issued by this Office designating April as Confederate History Month contained a major omission. The failure to include any reference to slavery was a mistake, and for that I apologize to any fellow Virginian who has been offended or disappointed. The abomination of slavery divided our nation, deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights, and led to the Civil War. Slavery was an evil, vicious and inhumane practice which degraded human beings to property, and it has left a stain on the soul of this state and nation. In 2007, the Virginia General Assembly approved a formal statement of "profound regret" for the Commonwealth's history of slavery, which was the right thing to do.

When I signed the Proclamation designating February as Black History Month, and as I look out my window at the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, I am reminded that, even 150 years later, Virginia's past is inextricably part of our present. The Confederate History Month proclamation issued was solely intended to promote the study of our history, encourage tourism in our state in advance of the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War, and recognize Virginia's unique role in the story of America. The Virginia General Assembly unanimously approved the establishment of a Sesquicentennial American Civil War Commission to prepare for and commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the War, in order to promote history and create recognition programs and activities.

As Virginians we carry with us both the burdens and the blessings of our history. Virginia history undeniably includes the fact that we were the Capitol of the Confederacy, the site of more battlefields than any other state, and the home of the signing of the peace agreement at Appomattox.

Our history is perhaps best encapsulated in a fact I noted in my Inaugural Address in January: The state that served as the Capitol of the Confederacy was also the first in the nation to elect an African-American governor, my friend, L. Douglas Wilder. America's history has been written in Virginia.

We cannot avoid our past; instead we must demand that it be discussed with civility and responsibility. During the commemoration of the Civil War over the next four years, I intend to lead an effort to promote greater understanding and harmony in our state among our citizens."

In addition the Governor announced that the following language will be added to the Proclamation:

WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to understand that the institution of slavery led to this war and was an evil and inhumane practice that deprived people of their God-given inalienable rights and all Virginians are thankful for its permanent eradication from our borders, and the study of this time period should reflect upon and learn from this painful part of our history...

As of this moment (3:52pm PDT, April 7) the above text has not been added to the proclamation on the Governor's website.

Originally posted to chrisblask on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 10:44 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Virginia is already for haters,. (6+ / 0-)

    courtesy of the current Rethug admin.

    Will Virginia now be for traitors too?

    The Taliban and al-Qaeda use bombs to try to terrorize the people; the Republicans use the media.

    by grada3784 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 10:47:26 AM PDT

    •  Bah. Already for haters? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrisblask, WXRock

      See, this is why I'm so quick to speak up against folks that belittle other red and purple states...

      •  You don't have to belittle the South (5+ / 0-)

        to get to this statement.  By electing a far right and homophobic governor and AG, hating has become official government policy in Virginia, at least until they throw the bums out.

        A definition is the enclosing of a wilderness of ideas within a wall of words -- Samuel Butler

        by A Mad Mad World on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:06:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  So you would suggest what? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dickie

        That we roll over and play dead?

        That we try to be better Christians than the Christians and turn the other cheek after we've been slapped silly?

        That we roll up into a fetal ball and let them continue to have their way with us?

        A sufficient number of Virginians voted for the Rethug crud to elect them; how is that loving?  Granted the Dems put up cardboard cut-outs and have to do a lot better, but a lot of these voters will never be convinced by anything the Dems do.

        What is your pleasure?  What do you propose?

        The Taliban and al-Qaeda use bombs to try to terrorize the people; the Republicans use the media.

        by grada3784 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 12:03:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I suggest that we avoid (0+ / 0-)

          blaming the entire state...That's me you're insulting.  That's my only problem, I agree that we need to do better than have Deeds as a candidate.  I agree that our AG is a moron.  I agree that we need to fight to turn that purple a little more blue.  I don't agree with you belittling the whole commonwealth for no reason.  It doesn't help us to insinuate that all Virginians are bigoted.  It makes me mad as hell, and I'm sure that wasn't your intention, but it was the result.

          •  You know what, just hide this, I know (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chrisblask

            you were only aiming the comment at the administration itself.  This stupid Confederacy fetish has me super-defensive.  The last thing that I want is for VA to be portrayed as backward and bigoted so I'm ultra sensitive.

            •  Can't blame you there. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Dickie, chrisblask

              In NJ, we elected a rethug too.  He's started cutting education funds, so h can give his buddies a tax cut.

              Hasn't started in on the gays yet, but that's only a matter of time.  We didn't learn a damned thing from Whitman.

              The Taliban and al-Qaeda use bombs to try to terrorize the people; the Republicans use the media.

              by grada3784 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 01:49:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Actually it goes back further (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grada3784, chrisblask

      to their "save marriage from the ebil gayz" constitutional amendment which, from my reading, could be used to invalidate any sort of a legal document drawn up for the benefit of gay or lesbian couple. Like, for example, a medical power of attorney. At least that's how I read the amendment (passed 57 to 43% in 2006) which reads:

      "Shall Article I (the Bill of Rights) of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to state: "That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."?

      I've added the emphases to show how draconian this potentially is.

  •  Can you tell me (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dickie, chrisblask, Adept2u

    if this is a first?  Or has there been "Confederate History Month" in previous administrations?

    I am really enjoying my stimulus package.

    by Kevvboy on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 10:50:52 AM PDT

    •  The practice was popular (6+ / 0-)

      The last 2 dem governors ended it, and the last republican did civil war history month, and at least made a statement that it was the stupidest thing men ever fought over and mentioned slavery in the proclamation.

      My leader is Barack Hussein Obama the finest President this country has ever elected. Face Front and Respect

      by Adept2u on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 10:55:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What is so stupid is that those who celebrate (6+ / 0-)

        the Confederacy also celebrate the destruction of their state.  Many of the major battles of the civil war were fought in Virginia.  Before the war,  Virginia had gone through a depression caused by the devastation of the soil because the wealthy planters did not want to lose one dime of their tobacco profits on rotating crops.  As a result the Virginia economy focused primarily on two things, raising slaves for export to the cotton producing states in the South to make up for the ban on the slave trade by the British in 1808 and a burgeoning industrial economy that was just beginning to take hold in the Richmond area.  Few people, outside the wealthy and politically connected Virginia planters could afford to own slaves yet they fought and died to preserve the right to own slaves.

        Virginia was the last state to join the confederacy and once it did, due to its proximity to DC, its railway system, and the fact that the confederate capitol was relocated here, Virginia became strategic territory and a major site for civil war battles.  These battles had economic and environmental effects that devastated  the state and from which it did not recover until WWII.  

        In addition to celebrating the immorality of slavery, McDonnell's vision of confederate history distorts the disastrous effects of the civil war on the very people who were hoodwinked into supporting secession.  The descendants of these same people now support the Tea Party movement and opportunistic politicians like McDonnell.  You can't get them to view Virginia history or confederate history realistically because they would have to face their own immorality and ignorance.  Instead they cling to the romanticized notion of the "Old South" and the "Lost Cause" tradition.  It's their heritage, doncha know.  

    •  I believe other states have also made (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chrisblask, ozsea1, absdoggy

      similar declarations.

      The really disturbing thing (beyond the fact that I thought this was done with a long time ago in VA) is that we still have a state holiday, the Friday before MLK day, for Lee and (Stonewall) Jackson.

    •  Some Background... (4+ / 0-)

      From the Washington Post...

      RICHMOND -- Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base.

      The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. McDonnell (R) revived a practice started by Republican governor George Allen in 1997. McDonnell left out anti-slavery language that Allen's successor, James S. Gilmore III (R), had included in his proclamation.

      In other words, Macaca Allen started the "tradition" in 1997. Gilmore continued it, but to his (slight) credit, added anti-slavery language to the proclamation.

      Warner and Kaine refused to continue this "tradition". And now, Gov. Bob has gone back to Allen's original...bypassing the anti-slavery language that the previous Republican had inserted.

      And that's how ugly Gov. Bob really is. I haven't been this ashamed of my home state since the ridiculous controversy over putting a statue of Arthur Ashe on Monument Ave. in Richmond.

      You deserve this frame. It was built for a dummy and it looks good on you. -- Jim Rockford

      by GrouchoKossak on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:35:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  George Allen? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chrisblask

        He of the cconfederate flag and noose in his office?

        Friend of the CCC?

        Idiot best known for calling soemone a macaca?

        Great tradition to uphold there Bob.

        This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

        by DisNoir36 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 03:40:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm still speechless (10+ / 0-)

    and I'm as cynical as they come. Note how the MSM will not call this "playing the race card" since the race is White.

  •  When did Shame go out of style? (5+ / 0-)

    I have mixed feelings about this.

    I'm a Southerner, and I fully understand the desire to defend Southern culture.

    That said, the history of slavery and opperssion that goes along with being Southern is nothing to celebrate without clearly stating why the Confederacy HAD to fall and it's institutions with it.

    Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary. Reinhold Niebuhr

    by patriot spear on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 10:56:56 AM PDT

  •  Mmmmm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrisblask, ozsea1

    Funnel Cake. Apost8 likey.  The whipping re-enactments will be swell too.

    "Think occasionally of the suffering of which you spare yourself the sight." - Albert Schweitzer

    by Apost8 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:02:20 AM PDT

  •  And, this month only, he's bringing back the ole (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CaliSista, chrisblask, ozsea1

    state song, that timeless tune "Carry Me Back to Old Virginia", where we learn the important historical fact that the cotton fields are where "the darkies' heart lies".

    Next February, I understand he intends to celebrate Black History month with a state dinner consisting of fried chicken, collard greens and watermelon. A ministrel show will follow, with Ken Cucinelli in black face.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:02:46 AM PDT

  •  Shenandoah Valley is Repug land (5+ / 0-)
    I had the good fortune of being raised in Harrisonburg, whose only claim to fame was being mispronounced in the movie Shenandoah, starring Jimmy Stewart.
    The right wing radio wackos rant all day about the Mexicans that have moved there. But they do not mention the stock market coupons they cash, thanks to the slave wages the Purdues, Tysons, Roccos, and all the other poultry and farming work, done by the illegals, the right wingers rant on about.
    But ask the companies to pay a tax to pay for the emergency services, hospital care, hit and runs, schools, and crimes that follow the illegals, and they squawk.
    Most of the migrants are hard workers, but like all immigrants groups throughout American history, there are alway's a few bad apples.
    The Shenandoah Valley is one of the most beautiful places there is, and i was fortunate to be born in the mid 50s, and enjoyed it before the Mayberry i remember was destroyed by corporate greed.
  •  I've been in a bar in Tennessee or Georgia, (5+ / 0-)

    (I can't recall, 'cause it was in 1979 or 1980) when the band played "Dixie" and everybody stood up and took off their hats. I've got nothing against the South per se, a lot of my family came from there, but there are obviously still a lot of assholes living in the 19th century--and a lot of asshole pols too happy to exploit them.

    "The kid in the combat gear is dead because the men in the suits failed."-me

    by porchdog1961 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:05:43 AM PDT

    •  I've lived in the South several times, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, porchdog1961, ozsea1

      and much of my family roots is from there.   Just last week I moved from Raleigh, NC to here in Scotts Valley CA.

      There is very little overt racism among white southerners today - certainly not much difference from folks anywhere else.  This isn't about southerners at all, it's about one GOP governor playing political games at all our expense.  It's just as much a play against Obama - and you - as it is a play for his own constituents.

      This asshat is whistling a dead tune on an old flute to burnish his own brass hat with a bunch of Palinite wingers.

      •  I think you're right... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1

        What I didn't make clear was that this atavism is in existence everywhere. I'm in Oregon, and this was a Jim Crow state for all intents and purposes.
        There are a lot of people up here, especially out in the sticks, who pine away for the "good old days" when they could cut down as many trees as they wanted, and  there were no people of color to speak of. I'd give you odds that about half of their grandkids are going to wind up married to people that aren't white, and that's going to help a lot of things.

        "The kid in the combat gear is dead because the men in the suits failed."-me

        by porchdog1961 on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:23:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks Chris nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrisblask, ozsea1

    To paraphrase Warren Ballentine: "We may have come here in separate boats but we're in the same one now"

    by OHknighty on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:22:00 AM PDT

  •  What I posted on this elsewhere... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Tchrldy, chrisblask, ozsea1

    Since the governor of Virginia has decided to bring back Confederate History Month, 4 years dedicated to establishing a slave nation, I also suggest he institute: Royal Colony Month(~160 years), Independent State Month(13 years between Revolution and Constitution), Native American History Month(~3000 years), and of course, Slavery History Month(~150 years).

    Of course, to be fair, that should actually be Three Years of Colonial Celebration, the Quarter-Year Celebration of Independence, at least a Fifty Year Period dedicated to remembering Native Americans, and then another three years of commemorating how Virginia despicably ran as a slave-owning society(with maybe another year remembering how Jim Crow laws continued state-sponsored racism).

  •  McDonnell and his sidekick, Cuccinelli: (6+ / 0-)

    Poster boys for why you all need to bust your asses from now 'til November for every Democratic candidate for every office in the land.  Not as much fun, perhaps, as knocking on doors for Pres. Obama but just as important.  

    The forces of the dark side are out there waiting to pounce.  Don't let them steal your freedom.  

    "It's a sight to see." Pres. Obama - Dec 8/09 and Jan 16/10

    by Observerinvancouver on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:38:58 AM PDT

  •  I'm just waiting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chrisblask

    ...for the Appomattox commemorative re-enactment on Friday, April 9.

    They are going to have one, aren't they?  Or do we have to wait four years for that Confederate History Month celebration.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 11:52:17 AM PDT

  •  Whereas,,, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tchrldy, chrisblask

    we jumped-up white folks have to find some way to celebrate the treason of our forefathers...

    In what other country could you get such a celebration of treason?

    My life is an open book, and I want a rewrite!

    by trumpeter on Wed Apr 07, 2010 at 12:42:57 PM PDT

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