We seem always to forget, perhaps because of its geography, that Virginia was the capital of the Conferderacy.
Virginia is a “progressive state,” according to Northam. News to me here in Richmond, and after fifteen years before that in Charlottesville. By others here in Virginia, Charlottesville is often cast as the Austin of VA, an island of liberalism. Even that is simply untrue, unless by liberalism you mean a general level of support for vague egalitarianism WITHIN the affluent, mostly white professional class.
Ask black workers at UVa or the hospital-industrial in Cville how it feels to clean up after white people and either not be able to afford to live there, or work two jobs to afford a crappy studio apartment at best. Ask the all black nursing and custodial staff at the all-white upscale nursing homes how far we’ve come since 1965. Ask the people who still remember Vinegar Hill, the city’s only middle class black neighborhood, being leveled by the city in an act of “eminent domain.”
The Lee Statue epitomizes rather than undermines the true nature of Charlottesville. Words are cheap. Free Tibet bumper stickers don’t cancel out systemic racism and economic segregation. Virginia, from top to bottom, is suffused with racism and classism both. The politics is corrupt and gerrymandered and utterly dishonest. The white rural working class is played against black people of all economic levels in order to preserve the insider privilege of the wealthy families who continue to run the state.
The frantic hyper-retailed suburbs of DC are presented as “Blue,” as if that said anything about people’s ethics or commitment to a sustainable life for working people. I only tentatively believe that replacing the GOP with Dems in the State House would change anything at all, it might possibly make things get worse slower. I wish so badly that I was wrong, that there was a path to economic justice. But the fix is in. And it ends in chaos, sooner or later.
Ralph Northam"turned his back" on his heritage by supporting the removal of Confederate monuments.
Yeah, Ralph turned his back on the racism, slavery and the killing of hundreds of thousands of men, including, my relatives who fought in the civil war, for the north.
“Progressive” has come to be a mostly a lifestyle term - you know, Uber-using, Amazon-buying, microbrew (fromerly chardonnay)-drinking, upscale real-estate gentrifying, fine-organic-dining, Hillary-loving, dreadfully snobbish, yuppies. And by that standard, Virginia is so-called “progressive”. I grew up in Fairfax in the '60’s and 70’s, went to Virginia Tech in the 70’s and again in the early 90’s and when I visit of pass through that state, It is stunning how gentrified vast swaths of the state have become. Coming home from a trip to see the eclipse** in E Tennessee, I was shocked at how even the formerly poor town in Abingdon in the isolated far southwest region they used to call the “Mountain Empire” is full of yuppie snobs.
And like its urban equivalent, the gentrification of small towns and rural areas does a remarkable job of concealing all the poor poeple who support the yuppie-lifestyle economy - McMansions on the hilltops, mobile homes hidden in the brushy hollows.
You’ll like this:
**The eclipse itself was a yuppie activity to a dismaying degree - the couple dozen people and families and kids on the isolated mountaintop I went to to view it and the people in the cars in the traffic jams after it was over, were all distinctly upper-middle class. Not a single drawl or Appalachian twang heard, nor black or Hispanic person seen among those viewing the eclipse. Those people all had to work that day, and every day, and they do not get vacation, aside from the unpaid vacation called “getting fired”.
Much to my surprise, I disagree with the article. Of what I know of the southern states, there is a disassociation of the Civil War from slavery. Indeed, denied even is national identity in respect to this war, insofar as it is referenced not as the Civil War, but The War Between the States. So it is, rebuke can be brought for perceived “disparagement” of one’s heritage as a Southerner, without raising the issue of slavery.
Now, slavery had and has a great deal to do with “The War Between the States” or “Civil War” or whatever one desires to designate this historic event. And, commensurately, Southern politicians in the instance of this article turn a “blind eye” to this in an attempt to divert blame from themselves and their heritage for bigotry and racism. Yet, despite this, a disassociation can be made between Southern heritage per se, without raising the issue of the bigotry of racism.
Just got off the phone with the Virginia GOP and this is in essence what I said: Horrified at their tweets regarding this Lt. Governor; when I read their first tweet how he has turned his back on his own family I emmediately thought: “Now what is wrong with that?” and that he had courage in admitting such a shameful history; this nation is in sore need for truth and reconciliation panels for its history is as bad as it can get.
Virginia GOP Contact:
Very good article on Victorian Bildung moralism, really insightful stuff. Hard to get people to look at these things, they tend to retreat into familiar tropes, ignoring the information history offers. I appreciate your sharing it.
And a few places up North were hubs for slavery: Rhode Island, Boston, MA and NYC
Not so. Your first tweet can be interpreted either way but when it is followed by," will say anything do anything…" We get it. You want to save face but you reveal yourselves simultaneously as unrepentant bigots.
I am just completely blown away by all of the millions of (non-southern) Americans who are all up in arms suddenly about the removal of Confederate statues. Seriously - if anyone can explain this to me, I would appreciate it. The Confederacy is not some “heritage” to be proud of - it was treason. Let’s try that again - T-R-E-A-S-O-N. A large group of people/states took up arms against their country, the United States of America, and actually killed hundreds of thousands of legitimate Americans in the war of secession which followed. These TRAITORS called themselves the Confederate States of America, the Confederacy, and called their former country enemies.
Now, imagine today if, let’s say, a “blue” state or two or three today tried the same shit. Its citizens took up arms against the US Government and launched attacks and threatened US citizens, US government officials, US military personnel, screaming about no longer being a part of the US and being their own independent country. You can practically hear the screams from the frothing, spittle-flecked lips of Republicans and Democrats alike denouncing those TRAITORS to their country and calling for their arrest or even outright assassination in the streets. Am I wrong?
YET - it is perfectly OK nowadays to honor the traitors who did the EXACT SAME THING 150 years ago - to uphold slavery, of all things - and call it a “proud heritage.”
Seriously - honoring traitors? Honoring treason? Millions upon millions of Americans, and, basically, the entire Rethuglican party, on board with it?? Really??
I swear to Christ, I don’t recognize this country at all anymore. My own neighbors, my own family, my own co-workers and friends - all of them. No freaking clue who the hell any of them are anymore.
And Washington D.C. (which was built by slaves) was the site one of the largest slave “markets” on Earth. Yes, this notion that the U.S. form of slavery is solely the creation of the South must be challenged. It was truly a national proposition created and run by white, male, property-owners around the U.S. and throughout colonial Europe.
While you’re right that white supremacy must be challenged, it is an integral part of the dominant ideology and power structures that make up the United States. It permeates everything we do and are as a nation.
Yep. D.C. is the Deep South. As for the rest, anything south of the Canadian border is the South. If you get a chance and have not done so check out The Counter Revolution of 1776 by Gerald Horne. Even the “revolutionary” war was fought to keep the institution of slavery. He makes a compelling case for this and is chuck full of references and quotes.
When people can’t earn enough money to have choices they become desperate and, acting from ignorance about the causes of their predicament, sign on to whatever rhetorical remedies come along. Enemies of the United States, in particular European governments whose countries have experienced fascism in its various forms, know this and have plotted for years to cultivate a treasonous political figure who they could manipulate to undermine and discredit the American presence in the world. What Putin maybe knew or maybe did not know was just how perfect a stooge they had in Trump. Any delay in ridding ourselves from Trump will only make things worse as he is on the process of tearing our social fabric to shreds. Trump’s agenda is only to gratify his short term impulses at the expense of everyone else. And yet his supporters don’t see this, convinced as they are that no choices are available to them, only trump’s inflammatory divisive presence.
Frankly, I think ALL war memorials should come down and be melted for a better use. Perhaps as statues honoring diversity. WAR is not an honorable enterprise - at least not the way we practice it in the US.
This is not to disparage vets. But boy golly, if only we were to start telling the truth about our wars of choice, (as we finally are telling the truth about our racist past) perhaps we could put up Peace monuments instead.
The odd thing I’ve always noticed is how, while practically every southern town has a statue of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jeff Davis, Beauregard, Col Mosby (in N. Virginia) - typically in their central square, plus even highways named after them, one will never see statues of Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Farragut or Lincoln in northern towns. It’s exactly the opposite of the usual situation where the victors are celebrated and the vanquished forgotten. Why? In the US-south the statues and memorials are clearly standing for something else - and it is not so pretty a thing either.
I grew up in a what was once a sleepy small southern town, Fairfax, Virginia, (it was once Virginia’s largest dairy farming area - believe it or now) which was undergoing a rapid demographic and later an ethnic/racial transition as it was absorbed into the massive suburban sprawl of the rapidly growing DC area. Our high school football team was called “The Rebels” and the mascot was the cartoon caricature “Johnny Reb” - an old bearded confederate veteran who would shout “Ferrrget? Hell!!!” We would proudly wave confederate battle flags at the football game. And our school cafeteria trays even had Johnny Reb and the confederate flag on them. A while later, after I moved on, the school decided to stop all the confederate themed crap. There was a lot of screaming and protest, but the protestors lost. Fairfax High School would be unrecognizable to me today. White-European-descended students are a minority and a majority of the students are now an incredible mix of Indian, Filipino, Thai, Korean, Chinese, African, and Latino. In other words, Fairfax HS looks like what the whole USA will look like in the near future. But there are a whole lot of small-minded throwback whiteys who are going to fight it. They will lose.
Perhaps because we’re ashamed. The slaughters conducted by Northern generals are well-documented. They may have been necessary to win the battle-phases of the slavery/secession rebellion, but they were slaughters by any definition. That’s one of the many major problems with the ways history in presented in the U.S. (and elsewhere).
War is never glorious. It’s dirty, brutal. vicious and rapacious. It affects civilians (especially women and children) more than uniformed military and creates national PTSD (and amnesia) that lasts for centuries – and becomes are part of the fabric of national identities. And “victory” is seldom victorious.
I live in Minnesota where genocides and ethnic removals against the peoples of the First Nations were rampant. Nearly every early politician participated in the slaughters with joy and built their political careers on anti-Indian racism and white supremacy in general. Statues, street names etc., of these mass murderers permeate the state. I live in Ramsey County not far from Selby Street. And then there’s Fort Snelling, about a ten minute drive. It goes on.
We have to get away from the name-game and look at who we are and where we came from as a nation, starting with the ruling classes; property-owning (capitalist), white males.
You and I may be ashamed of US atrocities, but most USAns are not. Minnesota and Wisconsin are full of anti-indigenous racists - who harbor all kinds of prejudiced stereotypes views of white southerners too. So your explanation falls short.