Neo-Confederate nostalgia is a hallmark of Republican politics in the South. Gov. Robert McDonnell (R-1861) somehow forgot that the Confederacy fought for the right of white people to own and dispose of as they would black people whose descendents still live in Virginia.
Read the whole proclamation, now with its slapdash patch. It's filled with curtseys to the poor put-upon white people who long for the day their treasonous ancestors wore gray:
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.War for independence! Concluded! He can't even bring himself to call it a civil war. There's no way he could own up to the real cause of war or to admit the defeat and unconditional surrender that Grant imposed on Lee, who was powerless to resist further.
[I]t 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.These white defenders of slavery chose their course, chose to make war on the United States, yet Virginians are supposed to reflect upon their so-called sacrifices alone. Pity the poor white victims of northern aggression!
[A]ll Virginians can appreciate the fact that when ultimately overwhelmed by the insurmountable numbers and resources of the Union Army, ...Neo-Confederates still take refuge in the article of faith that their heroes were better soldiers than the Union's because they were outnumbered and still held out for four years. But they were on defense, which is always easier and less costly in men than offense.
Instead of starting over, McDonnell shoehorned in an anti-slavery clause, leaving behind all the tropes that serve neo-Confederate nostalgia and excuse-making.
CNN has this, to which I say amen:
"[McDonnell] says the wrong thing, he sends a signal to his base and then he makes an apology," [Virginia State Sen. Henry Marsh III, a black Democrat,] said, "It's a question of whether or not he's sincere or not."McDonnell didn't forget. He knew exactly what he was doing. He didn't declare Civil War History Month, now did he?