I wanted to take a moment to comment on this move by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell to declare that April will be Confederate History Month in the State of Virginia. According to the Washington Post,
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.”
The Post went on to say
The seven-paragraph declaration calls for Virginians to “understand the sacrifices of the Confederate leaders, soldiers and citizens during the period of the Civil War.”
The cynic, or pragmatist, in me knows full well that this is nothing more than McDonnell trying to get in touch with downstate white conservatives who pine for the good old days. And at a time where issues such as “states rights” and “federal intrusion” are hot button topics among conservatives, this move makes political sense.
But I have a few thoughts on the matter.
First of all, I would like to throw my support behind McDonnell just as soon as he joins me in my call to set up a Federal Holiday, on April 9th, that celebrates Robert E. Lee’s decision to SURRENDER his forces at Appomattox Court House. If McDonnell wants to join me in celebrating this great moment in FEDERAL history, when the insurrection was finally crushed and the issue of whether states have any rights was settled once and for all, then he can have his dopey Confederate History Month.
Second, it has always surprised me how attached Southerners are to the Civil War. Helpful hint guys, you lost and lost TERRIBLY. Yeah, it was close at halftime but you got BLOWN OUT in the second half. This was not Duke-Butler. In fact, if you want a sports analogy, I would compare it to the 1987 Super Bowl where the Giants and Broncos were even at halftime, but New York “dwarf-tossed” Denver in the Second half. That is what happened to the South ……up small at halftime, hurt badly in the third quarter, gassed and beaten in the fourth.
That being said, I can’t figure out why that “game” is worth celebrating. After all, you don’t hear Bronco fans, to this day, talking up that afternoon at the Rose Bowl where their team got body slammed. Moreover, I don’t think you hear too much out of Germany these days about what a good game they played in Russia during the big one. I can see how a close loss has some sex appeal and is worth remembering. Hell, I have fond memories of the 2003 Sox and the 88 Celts. But you won’t see me waving around my 1985 Pats flag and reminiscing about how close we were to beating the Bears.
Summing up, I would just add that “Confederate” fans are the worst. Worse than Eagles fans, worse than Notre Dame fans, and yes, worse than even Yankee fans. ConFans can talk all they want about gallantry, and pride and honor and glory, but at the end of the day, they are consumed to this day by a horrible and devastating defeat. Granted, their side played hard. VERY HARD. But they still got crushed and who wants to celebrate a crushing loss. I’ll tell you who …..a Governor who wasn’t at the game and who should probably read the game story before he offers up any more declarations.