Good-bye to a Good Man

20130312-172643.jpgMarch 12, 2013 — A sad note today, as I write about Duval Dickinson, who passed away this weekend. I know the Dickinson family, and especially like talking to Duval’s son, Clay, who is smart and carried his Father’s joy for people and life. I took my lawn mowers to their shop every late winter for tune-ups, and they were always honest and fair and good.

Honest, fair and good. Those were the values that Duval and his wife instilled in their children. And that was Duval.

Duval was a Republican through and through. But, he wasn’t the kind of extremist, fear and hate, scorched-earth Republican that we see all too often these days.

He was the kind of Republican I grew up with in my family and friendships. To him, being fiscally responsible meant managing your budget in a balanced way by watching spending and yes, if it was called for, appropriate tax hikes and other ways to raise revenue. He believed in a limited role for government without demonizing it, and he believed in individual freedoms that government shouldn’t intrude upon. He was an old-line, true conservative in every way, who espoused the reasonable conservative philosophy we remember in Eisenhower, Buckley, Goldwater and yes, even Reagan, who raised taxes 11 times when it was necessary and didn’t pretend he was the Nation’s preacher by legislating right-wing social issues.

And that is why Duval fell out of favor with today’s new breed of Republicans. Today’s paper recounts the right-wing revolt led by Del. Mark Cole and others that ousted Duval from the Chairmanship of the Spotsylvania Republican Committee:

Dickinson chaired the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee for a decade, until religious conservatives disenchanted with the GOP leadership staged a coup. A major reason for their revolt was the old guard’s opposition to Christian right candidates such as Oliver North, who unsuccessfully sought a U.S. Senate seat in 1994, according to an article that appeared in The Free Lance–Star in 1999.

No, Duval was not one of this new breed. He was not one of them. He was reasonable – and honest, fair and good.

[Image via FLS.]


O.Hank! is a local writer, who works in the private sector and has worked in policy positions in local, state and federal levels of government.

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