Thursday, April 8, 2010

Confederate History Month in VA. - Final Thoughts

I read a great article on this over at Alton Foley's site Eschew Obfuscation. Very well thought out and a highly recommended read.  I am posting my reply here (slightly modified) as my final thoughts on Gov. McDonnell's proclamation.  Please take note of emphasis near the bottom - that's really "the rest of the story".

I as always, would like to hear your thoughts as well.

Nice article Alton.  I have an opinion written at my site, and some thoughts co-authored by your fellow Virginian John Doe at "Smash Mouth Politics".  I do think we arrived at the same conclusion - slavery was NOT a primary issue in VA. secession. We might have differing views on the actual document and its political implications.
I do think Gov. McDonnell had the right idea in executing the proclamation.  IMHO, he was seeking to highlight the cultural heritage of Virginians serving for what they felt to be right. About particulars of the Civil War (and there will be discussions for decades more about it) - especially slavery (as noted, less of an issue in VA. secession)- were not germane to the mission, which was to shine Virginia in a good light; and make her visible as a consideration for tourist and trade visits (and dollars).  As such, he sought to highlight service, sacrifice, and cultural heritage - and not rehash Civil War history as such.
Could the document have been better titled?  Perhaps.  
Should it have included reference to slavery?  I guess you can make an argument either way.  
I believe he made a more egregious mistake by caving to Dems (who would never be happy with the document, for reasons I'll discuss in a moment). And once created, it should have stood on its own - it was not fundamentally flawed. No one but the ardent supporters of the "Pussification Of America" plan would attempt to argue the proclamation was in any fashion a mitigation of slavery.  That's just plain asinine.    
The real reasons Dems are up in arms has nothing - add emphasis - NOTHING! to do with slavery.  What it has EVERYTHING to do with is the two previous Dem Governors of VA. choosing NOT to issue proclamations (a full-metal-jacket reach-around to their constituents).  So the very existence of the document - even with perfect word-smithing - was a stark reminder of power and prestige lost; thus a veritable bitch-slap of Democrats Virginia.  
And this is why Gov. McDonnell's retreat was the greater of two evils in this case. Because in doing so, Bob McDonnell ceded his well-fought victory. 
As always, my opinion.  YMMV.



  1. Well said, LTB. Despite what Democrats continue to claim, the point of my article was not that slavery was never an issue, but that Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and to a lesser extent Missouri, were forced into the actions they took by the invasion, probably unconstitutional, of each state by Federal forces.

    Yes, parts of Virginia depended heavily on slave labor, but the people of Virginia were never ready to secede until that invasion.

    Had the Federal government handled the situation differently Virginia, and most importanly Robert E. Lee, may well have remained in the Union. Without Lee, the Confederate States would not have lasted the first winter and the conflict would have been over rather quickly.

  2. I think it is funny how you found Alton's blog and my blog, just a couple of old farts who live in Virginia and love America. He's one of the good guys...

  3. Well John the truth is I found one via the other. It was your James Earl Ray post is where I found you, I discovered Alton's via his blog on the death of John Murtha (that one wiped off cobwebs from college literature!).

    I guess I'll offer my services as the west coast field office for the Virginia Blogroll!