Tuesday, March 19, 2019
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Del. David Toscano’s Update from the Va. General Assembly: Another Shocking...

by Virginia House Democratic Leader David Toscano Americans continue to wake up to increasingly disturbing incidents of gun violence and death. Videos capture two horrific...

Race & Density Explain Virginia’s Politics, Not Woodard’s “Nations”

In the Washington Monthly, author Colin Woodard is trotting out an explanation of the Virginia election based on cultural heritage.
I'm not talking about "NoVa" versus the Old Dominion, but something much older that suburban Washington: the massive schism between the state's Tidewater and Greater Appalachian sections, one that has created tensions since the days of the House of Burgesses and, certainly, the secession of West Virginia.
Is there a deeper East vs. West divide within the Old Dominion, beyond the idea of an urban crescent vs. rural Virginia fight?

Let's find out.

Felix’s Racial Vulnerability

There's a connection between the Virginia Beach Republican Party (VBRP) Chair (former) and George Allen. It is Kenny Golden. The three of them present as models of objectivity. And all three of them are at best ignorant and at worst, well, racially intolerant. Maybe both. Golden failed twice. Will Allen?

You see, Kenny received that now famous E-mail back in the day; you know, a few months ago when Dave Bartholomew was learning about this new internet thing and accidently forwarded a racially charged joke to the six people he deliberately added to the "To..." list.

The e-mail was dated March 15 and sent from the address that Bartholomew uses as party chairman. Bartholomew forwarded it without reading the contents when "he was first getting familiar with the Internet," -- Gary Byler, the 2nd Congressional District GOP chairman as quoted in the Virginian Pilot
So, did Golden respond to the E-mail he received from his successor as the Virginia Beach Republican Party Chair with a cautionary note? Or did he forward the E-mail to his college chum, George Felix Allen who also found it unobjectionable? That's the problem once you've unveiled your intolerance. There's always that nagging doubt.

Video: NAACP Demands “Come Home to Jesus” Meeting with Jim Webb

The Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference, King Salim Khalfani, explains why he is angry at the Tea Party movement and at Jim Webb for his op-ed on affirmative action. Among other things, Khalfani says that Webb "lied" on a number of fronts, including the title, the "myth of white privilege." Something tells me, this debate isn't going to end anytime soon.

P.S. For more, see Decision Virginia. Excellent reporting by Ryan Nobles on this one!

Virginia NAACP: Jim Webb and Rand Paul “are kith and kin”

I'm pretty much speechless over this tirade letter, from the Executive Director of the Virginia NAACP, about Jim Webb and his Wall Street Journal op-ed on affirmative action. Read the NAACP's Executive Director's letter for yourself.
...Your opponent then and coming George Allen would not have had the gall to write about the "myth of white privilege" even though I am sure he feels that way. In African culture, it is said, when people show & tell you who they are. Believe them!" Your written word has spoken volumes for your belief system.

It appears that you and U.S. Senate candidate Rand Paul are kith and kin. Do you really believe that affirmative action has hurt white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants or are you pandering to the divisive, conservative, Tea Bagger types whose votes you will need in 2012? The true beneficiaries of affirmative action programs are white, Anglo-Saxon women...overwhelmingly. If a white, republican, ultra-right winger, or Rush, Beck or O'Reilly had written or spoken it, the world would have known about it...

You have given cover & solace to those "who want to take their country back (from whom?), who want to reload not regroup, who think it is ok to spit on and use racial epithets against African members of the House of Representatives...

Rand Paul? George Allen? "Rush, Beck or O'Reilly?" Ee gads.

h/t: NLS

. . . the American Dream is still a restless night

Consider this data from a study by Brandeis University's Institute on Assets and Social Policy, of the median wealth, not including home equity, of white families versus black families:

in 1984, Whites -  22,000   Blacks - 2,000    difference  20,000

in 2007, Whites - 100,000   Blacks - 5,000    difference  95,000

(the figures are from a study by the Urban Institute)

Or as Derrick Jackson puts in, in an op ed titled An elusive payoff (subtitled "Gains elsewhere belie a wealth gap for black families"),

The study said the gap in 1984 amounted to a couple years of public college tuition. Today, the gap would fund "full tuition at a four-year public university for two children, plus tuition at a public medical school."

Why Do Virginia’s Top Republicans Keep Finding Racial Controversy?

As Jonathan Capehart writes at WashingtonPost.com, Bob McDonnell has eviscerated his own image more effectively than his political enemies ever could:
McDonnell came to office as the smiling conservative. A candidate who eschewed hot-button social issues in favor of jobs and the economy. He and his successful campaign were touted as a model for Republican candidates around the country. But McDonnell's slavery-denial document reveals a snarl behind the smile that should serve as a warning. Antebellum attitudes are thriving in the Age of Obama.
Let's be clear -- this was not a case of Bob McDonnell accidentally stumbling into a controversy or the result of an outside event -- say, a racially-motivated crime that made confront a crisis not of his own making. No one & no thing forced him into this. Just as George Allen did before him, Bob McDonnell voluntarily, on his own, without provocation, made a public issue of his own racial feelings & positions.

It is simply amazing that Bob McDonnell, 2010's Face of the Future of the National Republican Party, has chosen of his own free will to step onto the same path of racial controversy as George Allen, 2006's Face of the Future of the National Republican Party. Getting to be a pattern, isn't it?

Washington Post: “Gov. McDonnell’s airbrushing of Virginia history”

This morning's Washington Post editorial page writes about Bob McDonnell's "Confederate History Month" proclamation:
It's fine that Mr. McDonnell decided to proclaim April as Confederate History Month; the Confederacy is an important chapter of history that merits study and draws tourists to Virginia. But any serious statement on the Confederacy and the Civil War would at least recognize the obvious fact -- that slavery was the major cause of the war, and that the Confederacy fought largely in defense of what it called "property," which meant the right to own slaves. Instead, Mr. McDonnell's proclamation chose to omit this, declaring instead that Virginians fought "for their homes and communities and Commonwealth." The words "slavery" and "slaves" do not appear.

Even more incendiary is the proclamation's directive that "all Virginians" must appreciate the state's "shared" history and the Confederacy's sacrifices. Surely he isn't including the 500,000 Virginia slaves who constituted more than a quarter of the state's Civil War-era population, who cheered the Union and ran away to it when they could.

The question is, why would Bob McDonnell, or any governor, do this in the Virginia of 2010?  In McDonnell's case, as the Washington Post points out, he has spoken "movingly of slavery's evils" and "paid eloquent homage to former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, the grandson of slaves" in his inaugural address. So, again, why would he do something so "incendiary" and divisive, as opposed to issuing a proclamation aimed more at uniting all Virginians?  The Post offers two possible explanations:

1) "Charitably, we might suspect sloppy staff work"
2) "[L]ess charitably, we'd guess he is pandering to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that lionizes the Confederacy and pressed for the proclamation."

My guess is the latter, but I can't get in McDonnell's head, and I don't want to try (****shudddddder****). Whatever the reason for McDonnell's "Confederate History Month" proclamation, and specifically the wording he's used, it's troubling and - once again, for the nth time in 3 months - embarrassing to Virginia.   What's even more troubling is that this latest McDonnell administration action comes in the aftermath of the brouhaha they caused over combating - or not combating - discrimination against gays and lesbians. If you recall, we had no "Executive Order" from McDonnell, as we got from Governors Warner and Kaine, on this issue. Instead, we got an essentially toothless "Executive Directive" on the matter. That "Executive Directive" came in response to Attorney General Cuccinelli's letter to Virginia's public colleges and universities urging them NOT to protect GLBT students and faculty from discrimination.

Is this becoming the "minority insensitivity administration" or what? At this point, in the aftermath of McDonnell's omission of any mention - let alone serious discussion - of slavery in his "Confederate History Month" proclamation, it sure is starting to look that way.

UPDATE: This is even worse.

McDonnell said he did not include a reference to slavery because "there were any number of aspects to that conflict between the states. Obviously, it involved slavery. It involved other issues. But I focused on the ones I thought were most significant for Virginia."
WTF?!? Slavery wasn't one of the "most significant" parts of Virginia history? My god, what did they teach this guy at Pat Robertson's law school?

In response - and rightly so! - "The proclamation was condemned by the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus and the NAACP. Former governor L. Douglas Wilder called it "mind-boggling to say the least" that McDonnell did not reference slavery or Virginia's struggle with civil rights in his proclamation." I agree strongly with the Legislative Black Caucus and Doug Wilder; McDonnell's airbrushing of slavery and the civil rights struggle is completely outrageous, shameful, and unacceptable.

UPDATE #2: A couple of quotes on history that I think are relevant.

*"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana

*"A people without history is like wind on the buffalo grass." - Sioux proverb

UPDATE #3: NLS reminds us that, back in 2002, then-Delegate Bob McDonnell pushed for the House of Delegates to recite a pledge which came from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Amazing.

UPDATE #4: Sen. Donald McEachin speaks out.

UPDATE #5: I was just talking about this with a friend; we agreed that if Bob McDonnell's goal here was to attract tourists to Virginia, he should have been as inclusive as possible - Civil War and African American Heritage Month, perhaps? Instead, he decided to be as divisive and narrow as he possibly could. That's our governor for you, no surprise to those of us who have been following him for years now, but still pathetic.