Yesterday and this morning, I watched Virginia political leaders respond in various ways to the situation in Charlottesville. At least one of those leaders, Tom Perriello, put his body on the line (note that he was pepper sprayed and spat upon by a neo-Nazi), while providing a stream of photos and updates about what was unfolding throughout the day, plus spot-on commentary and observations about what it all meant. Thank you so much for that!
I also saw other Virginia political leaders (e.g., Mark Herring, who tweeted a response to the imbecile in the White House: “The violence, chaos, and apparent loss of life in Charlottesville is not the fault of ‘many sides.’ It is racists and white supremacists.”) really rise to the occasion, while some – Republican Corey Stewart, following in the footsteps of his hero, Donald Trump, being the prime example – lived down to the lowest expectations and totally disgraced themselves. Then there were Virginia Democratic candidates for Congress in 2018, a bunch of whom – Dan Helmer, Jennifer Wexton, RD Huffstettler, Eileen Bedell, Ryan Sawyers, Vangie Williams, Lindsey Stover, Abigail Spanberger, Janelle Noble, Andrew Sneathern, etc. – weighed in with their thoughts, statements, prayers, etc.
One of those statements that really jumped out at me was the following one, by VA-01 Democratic candidate Edwin Santana, which I thought really nailed it: 1) sending condolences to the victims in Charlottesville and in the helicopter crash, plus thanks to law enforcement who are “putting their bodies on the line to help protect people and keep them safe”; 2) discussing how the election of Barack Obama did NOT lead to a “post-racial America,” with “the rise of the rise of the racist Donald Trump-led ‘birther’ movement and an organized attempt to besmirch and undermine Barack Obama at every turn”; 3) analyzing why race relations were so bad at the end of Obama’s administration, particularly “images of domestic terrorists such as Dylan Roof being apprehended, fed, and then ushered into a police station alive after massacring nine innocent civilians, black church goers, contrasted sharply with the images of Eric Garner being choked to death for being in possession of contraband cigarettes”; 4) calling out Donald Trump explicitly – not beating around the bush in any way – for having “used the burgeoning racist and white supremacist movement as a vehicle to carry him to the presidency”; 5) asserting that he “outright reject[s]” the notions that the Confederate flag is about “states rights” and the “heritage of the people who fought for what they believe in”; 6) to the contrary, pointing out that that flag, the statues of Confederate generals and the people “marching at night with torches reminiscent of a Klan rally” represent “hatred, racism and most importantly, white supremacy”; 7) wholeheartedly rejecting those who “wish to divide and marginalize along lines of race” and a vow to “stand and fight against it every day”; 8) declaring that “if your flag and the Nazi flag are interchangeable, there’s a massive issue with what you choose to represent, and it must be addressed”; and 9) applauding those “putting themselves in harm’s way to stand against the domestic terrorism and applaud their peaceful efforts to make it known that racism, bigotry and white supremacy are antithetical to the values of what it means to be a Virginian but mostly an American.”
Is that basically the perfect statement on the events in Charlottesville yesterday, or what? Great job by Edwin Santana – a candidate to keep an eye on as we move into 2018. Thank you!