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 ; 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 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 ;
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
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.