A colleague, Dr. Venus Nicolino, sent me this quote, complete with her pithy assessment.
"File under "You've Got to be F***ing Kidding Me": Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell just declared April "Confederate History Month". Really? Is the South in danger of losing touch with its racist past? Will the voice of the white man no longer be silenced in Dixie?"
Her assessment speaks for itself. I wish I could write as well, but she has promised me lessons. In all fairness to Governor McDonnell, however, he is only the third governor to make such a proclamation. The fear over forgetting the glory of the racist regime of the Confederacy runs rampant in the South. I think that fear is overdone. Submitted as evidence: the Great Trent Lott Gaffe of '02 (when he sang the praises of pro-segregation Senator Strom "Segregation in School but Integration in my Bedroom" Thurmond), the American Slavery Denial movement (it's like our own American Holocaust Denial movement. How's that for American innovation?) and of course, The Tea Party ('nuff said). Rest easy tonight Governor McDonnell, hate and fear thrive like the kudzu and Spanish moss of Old Dixie.
I've often wondered why Germany hasn't embraced their past as we have. I suppose they're still touchy about honoring a regime that's placed an eternal stain on their national honor and left them responsible for the most ghastly spree of hate-crimes and state sanctioned murder in recorded history. Maybe if Angela Merkel can find the same courage and conviction as Governor McDonnell someday we'll see "Hooray for the Holocaust Month".
Of course there are those who insist the Confederacy was not a "Hate-State", as it were, that flying the Confederate flag today is simply honoring their past and heritage. And then there are the arguments from historians, many valid, that the Civil War was fought for many reasons, and that freeing the slaves was a propaganda ploy of the Union. Maybe so. Yet, the Klan often carries the Confederate flag alongside their own Swastika riddled banners. Regardless of what it might mean to those who harbor "Gone With The Wind" type fantasies about some Dixie Camelot and it's Romantic Lost Cause, the flag is a symbol of racism, oppression, and to be literally historical, sedition. The Klan certainly thinks so, and if nothing else, I would say they're the experts on hate.
I live in Southern California. Have we celebrated our own proud history of oppression and racism? Sadly, no. But to his credit, during Governor Schwarzenegger's first election campaign he did say it was time for local Indian tribes to "pay their fair share" in taxes. I don't know about you, but when I think of groups that have done nothing but take without giving back to the US Government, Native Americans are the first folks I think of...
If Governor McDonnell is truly a man who will honor his proud Southern Past in all its Glory, I hope "National Lynching Month" will soon be on our calendars. This month goes nicely with his "Confederate History Month" as we will be given a chance to reflect on not just the Confederacy, but its rich legacy that stretches even into the modern day. Of course, the Governor favors that Confederate Month precede the Lynching Month. His logic is as follows. He wants to first free his Confederate Brethren from their long gagged state. "National Confederate Month" will do that. Then, so freed, those Dixie men may let their voices freely and loudly scream about the wisdom of Lynching Month.
God Bless America
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