RICHMOND — The Republican Party of Virginia said Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, whose ancestors once owned slaves and fought in the Civil War, had “turned his back on his own family’s heritage” by calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.
The accusation drew swift condemnation from Democrats and some Republicans, who said it amounted to calling Northam a “race traitor.”
In a two-part tweet on its official account posted shortly after noon, the state party took aim at Northam, the Democratic nominee for governor, whose great-great-grandfather owned eight slaves in 1860 and nine slaves in 1850 on Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore.
“.@RalphNortham has turned his back on his own family’s heritage in demanding monument removal (1/2),” it read. “Shows @RalphNortham will do anything or say anything to try and be #VAGov – #Pathetic 2/2.”
The blowback was instant.
“I feel fine about turning my back on white supremacy. How does @EdWGillespie feel about the president’s position?” Northam tweeted in response, referring to his rival in the November election, former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie.
The Daily Beast ran a story under the headline: “Virginia GOP Calls Democratic Candidate a Race Traitor for Wanting Confederate Statues Removed.”
Even a conservative blog, the Reagan Battalion, jumped in, asking the Virginia Republican Party, “Was your account hacked?”
Former delegate David Ramadan, a Republican, tweeted: “Have you lost your minds — who is in control of your twitter act?”
After nearly four hours, the state party pulled down the tweet and replaced it with this: “Our previous tweets were interpreted in a way we never intended. We apologize and reiterate our denunciation of racism in all forms.”
I hope the RPV walks this one back real fast. What child was at the helm on that one? First off, Good for Gillespie for responding as he did.
“The RPV was right to apologize for the tweet and to take it down,” Gillespie spokesman David Abrams wrote in an email. “Though Ed disagrees with the Lieutenant Governor on the issue of statues, he knows we can disagree on issues like this without devolving into divisive rhetoric.”
Regardless of how one feels about the statues, the KKK, Nazis, and white supremacy groups has made it so it will probably be impossible to keep statues anywhere but in museums and on battlefields.
I certainly do not think Lt. Gov. Northam is “turning his back on his heritage.” I see the statues as part of southern culture. I feel the statues of Lee and Jackson (and Lewis and Clark and George Rogers Clark) are all part of the ethos of Charlottesville. I never felt it was part of Charlottesville’s heritage or my heritage either. I feel that they are art. If those statues don’t appeal to people, then put up some that do appeal to various people and groups. We should add, not tear down.
When people feel that their culture has been destroyed, it brings on anger and resentment. Is that really what people want for our country? The one question Trump asked is what many people are asking–where does it end? How sanitized do things have to get before no one is offended about anything?
It must be very nice to have feelings all compartmentalized and absolute. I sure don’t. I am suffering from a large case of push me/pull me over this issue. I feel that art is being destroyed. Destroying art is Taliban mentality. I feel like I am politically incorrect if I don’t cow-tow. I feel like my culture is undergoing genocide. Actually, what I feel like is people who are absolute only see 2 answers to the entire question–you either destroy the statues or you are a Nazi. There really doesn’t seem to be any in-between.
It really isn’t a good thing to force people into that position. If I lose friends over this, well, I guess they weren’t my friends in the first place.
Shame on the RPV for accusing Northam of turning his back on his heritage. Do any of us really have a choice after the KKK, the White Supremacists and the Nazis came to town? They pretty much sealed the deal.
Further reading about the insult to Lt. Gov. Northam.