Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Old Times There Are Being Forgotten

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonell has declared April Confederate History Month.

The two previous Democratic governors had refused to issue the mostly symbolic proclamation honoring the soldiers who fought for the South in the Civil War. McDonnell (R) revived a practice started by Republican governor George Allen in 1997. McDonnell left out anti-slavery language that Allen’s successor, James S. Gilmore III (R), had included in his proclamation.

McDonnell said Tuesday that the move was designed to promote tourism in the state, which next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the war. 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.”

I suppose that the people who are defending this are all caught up in some romanticized image of the Civil War as some noble cause like Gone With the Wind (and went out for popcorn during the scene in the railyard with hundreds of bodies lying around), and think that people who object to the commemoration without mentioning slavery are just a bunch of kill-joys.

It’s also an obvious ploy by the governor to suck up to his right-wing base who seem to identify with the Confederacy in their anti-Washington rhetoric about states’ rights and such. Just one little reminder: they lost.