The Washington Post reported today that Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) has “quietly” issued a proclamation declaring April 2010 as Confederate History Month. This comes on the heels of the 149th anniversary of Virginia’s succession from the union on April 17, 1861. Here’s part of the proclamation:
WHEREAS, April is the month in which the people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence that concluded at Appomattox Courthouse; and
WHEREAS, Virginia has long recognized her Confederate history, the numerous civil war battlefields that mark every region of the state, the leaders and individuals in the Army, Navy and at home who fought for their homes and communities and Commonwealth in a time very different than ours today; and
WHEREAS, it is important for all Virginians to reflect upon our Commonwealth’s shared history, to understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War, and to recognize how our history has led to our present…
The Post notes that former Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore made similar designations, while former Democratic governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine refused to do so. They also noted that in 2002, “Warner broke with…[his Republican predecessors actions], calling such proclamations a ‘lightning rod’ that does not help bridge divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia.”
I think Sen. McEachin (D-Richmond) said what most Virginias were thinking in that he was “stunned” by McDonnell’s decision to issue such a proclamation. The Post goes on to say that he was “even more stunned that the proclamation did not include any reference to slavery,” calling it “offensive.”
Frankly, I’m not surprised at all. From day one, since he was sworn in as Governor, he has sought to move Virginia backwards. After all, he originally supported Cuccinelli’s efforts to allow public universities to discriminate against gay students (eventually reversing his stance, sort of). I guess if McDonnell had it his way, he would move Virginia back to the 1860s.
In the end, the only thing that Virginians should “recognize” is how out of touch McDonnell is with the priorities of everyday Virginians!