If put into Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax's shoes, this is a considerably more circumspect response than most of us could probably muster.
Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the second African-American to serve in that role, stepped off the dais where he presides over the state Senate on Monday when Republicans moved to adjourn in memory of Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.
“It’s a personal decision for me,” Fairfax said afterward. “There are people in Virginia history that I think it’s appropriate to memorialize and remember in that way, and others that I would have a difference of opinion on.”
The southern states are going to continue to honor their American traitors nigh-on forever; why the state fetishized Stonewall Jackson, and how that fetishization conspicuously meshed with white supremacist hostility toward granting black Americans each new incremental right is at this point well-known. And yes, Virginia for a long while celebrated Stonewall Jackson's birthday alongside Martin Luther King Jr.'s in an extravagant thumb-in-the-eye to black Virginians.
So having some Republican twit pipe up on the state Senate floor yet again to honor Jackson and ponder “ whether we should erase the memory of our heroes" is just another Monday in the state. Lt. Gov. Fairfax knew it was coming and handed off the gavel when the designated time came, choosing to sit on a bench nearby rather than preside over a state body giving voice to dreck like:
“Jackson was not a perfect man. As a devout Christian, he had conflicting views on slavery.”
Mmm-hmm. As a devout Christian, Jeffrey Dahmer was unsure which part of the corpse he should eat first. And so forth.
Fairfax's quiet protest of this moment was apparently so quiet that most legislators didn't even realize he was protesting or why he had stepped aside. One imagines this required a great deal of restraint on Fairfax's part, which is probably why he holds elected office in this country and you and I do not. Because if you or I would have had to sit there while some history-rewriting lackey opined on the godly demeanor of a man who murdered a great many of his countrymen to enforce a system of slavery he supposedly had mixed feelings on, well, something different may have happened.