Jackson astride Ole Sorrel


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.

26 Thoughts to “Turning your back on heritage?”

  1. Jonathan

    But we don’t tend to leave art up when it offends large groups. The fact that a work of art was deemed appropriate (and even beautiful) at the time of its creation does not, I believe, oblige all future generations to leave it intact, as the work acquires new meanings when it is seen through the prism of changed values and perspectives.

    I think the litmus test of your position (“It’s art and culture and should therefore be preserved”) is one that you don’t introduce here — whether you’d support the addition of a plaque that acknowledges the basis for people’s objections to the statue. If you supported the addition of text that could “reframe” the art in a way that explicitly acknowledges the current perspectives that may differ from those that led to the work’s initial formation, then we might have some common ground. If you wanted the “art” to remain unchanged, then my suspicion is that you’re probably primarily interested (consciously or unconcsciously) in upholding the values that led to the work’s erection in the first place — values that I believe are deservedly being rejected in today’s evolving culture, even if I might dispute some of the forms that that rejection takes.

    1. Those statues have been up over 90 years. I find it odd that large groups didn’t find them objectionable until the past couple of years. I also find it odd that more people find them objectionable after they were told to find them objectionable. It is a depiction of a man on a horse, not a giant vulva.

      I might find the statue of Lenin in Seattle objectionable. However, I just wouldn’t go visit it.

      The property is only public because Paul Goodloe McIntire gifted the land and the statue. What on earth would everyone howl about now if he had kept the land and arranged for the property’s upkeep in perpetuity?

      Rather than place public bitching up in the park, I would open it up to other art work that various groups wanted displayed. For example, I think it would be nice to have a memorial to those African American teenagers who first integrated Lane High school. That took incredible bravery on the part of those kids. There could also be a WWII dedication. If we want to get controversial, there could be some memorial to the people who were dislodged from atop the Blue Ridge so that Shenandoah national Park could become a reality. Eminent Domain at its worst, in many ways. Many of those families, especially the children ended up in Charlottesville and Albemarle County.

      Jonathan, do you know anything at all about Mr. McIntire’s values when the statue was erected in 1924? Your “suspicions” about me are very objectionable, speaking of objectionable. If you want to know how I feel about something, ask, rather than “suspect.”

      If we get rid of everything that people find objectionable, then what do we have left? I prefer dialogue to purging. I felt like I was watching a book burning on TV as I watched the shrouds going on those two statues. I don’t think the people of cville had any voice in that matter.

  2. Robin Hood

    I’m so sick of this but I have a compromise to share. How about Michael Jackson High School and King of Pop Middle School?

    1. I guess it won’t matter. If Mr. Baseball has his way, it will go. If he doesn’t, It will remain Stonewall Jackson High School.

      Mr. Baseball will move on to get his ass beaten by Rob Wittman. I think it should rest with the student body and the graduates.

      I wouldn’t howl over Stonewall, as long as the students knew it was named for a gay bar in New York City.

      1. NorthofNokesville


        “Mr. Baseball.” That’s demeaning to other “Mr.”‘s and to baseball. What a dumpster fire. He makes Chairman Stewart look like a model of composure and dignity.

      2. Cough–sputter–cough
        I wasn’t aware that was possible!!!

      3. Robin Hood


        You’re right. They are both using this to drum up support for higher office.

      4. NorthofNokesville


        The man innovatively finds new ways to hit new lows. I suppose that’s a talent of sorts.

      5. Robin Hood


        Correction: “The man” should be “these men.” But what can be expected from someone who won’t scroll up and quote correctly?

      6. NorthofNokesville

        Robin Hood,

        Why so grouchy, mate? I know you’ve got a job to do playing the Stewart-Sawyers equivalency game, and sometimes doing one’s duty is distasteful. But my singular use of men was in reference to Moon’s prior comment about “Mr. Baseball” as you can (presumably) tell from the automatically generated header in the comment, and my drawing a comparison between Saws and Stewie. So either I could “misquote” Moon which I did not, or I could misquote myself or step on the comparison, which I also did not do. You can and probably do not like any comment asserting Saws makes Corey look good, which is your privilege, of course, but to get so fussy over not pluralizing when it didn’t fit in the context… might be time for a nap.

      7. I find both an embarrassment for pretty much the same reasons. Both are opportunistic and will use any port in a storm to politically advance themselves.

  3. Richard Hurtz

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” (George Orwell, 1984)

    1. I am not saying a word. (at least not here)

      I ask the question–if every statue and monument was destroyed, how would anyone’s life be better? Would people have better education, housing, food? A better life?

      If the answer to that is no, then why bother doing it and alienating so many people who look at equestrian statues as part of the ethos of the region?

      Reminder–there are war memorials all over New England. How odd it isn’t going to be allowed in the south any more.

  4. Watching

    Just to be a contrarian, I think it might be important to understand when and how some of these statues went up. I heard a radio program yesterday that discussed that many of these statues went up either in the beginning of the Jim Crow era (1877) or during the civil rights movement. They were meant to make a point of who was in charge. If we are not going to whitewash history let’s discuss that period of separate but equal where our society was anything but.

    One man financed four statues and five parks in Charlottesville. He was a philanthropist. The following article talks about what the world was like when he did that.


    I have no problems with statues like these being in a museum to educate and remember. There is a place for history and we all must remember it or we are doomed to repeat it. That said, another program I heard discussed that Lee was a brutal slave owner who liked to separate families. But I haven’t confirmed that and it may be fake news.

    Just sayin.

    1. I don’t know much about statues outside of Virginia. I do know a little bit about the stone mountain monument. I lived there in Atlanta about the time it carving was begun and when the huge panorama was completed. It was commemoration—Maybe the centennial. I don’t think it was Jim Crow related, but more historical. Much was also made about the 25th anniversary of Gone With the Wind. It has premiered in Atlanta…at the Fox as I recalled so there was a big whoop made about that.

      Now, on to Cville. My knowledge of this matter is far more detailed of those statues than of the goings on in Atlanta. I actually think the Jim Crow theory, at least in cville is pure bullshit. McIntire returned to his hometown a very wealthy man. He commissioned the statues (4) that I am aware of probably in the 19-teens. There is a deed that specifies that Lee Park be dedicated to his mother and father who were Civil War vintage.e His mother would be my great great great aunt, sister to my great great grandmother. I assume that Robert E. Lee was important to them.

      I don’t see why Confederate vets, Sons of Confederate vets or the Daughters of the Confederacy wouldn’t be invited. The first is obvious. Sons and daughters were the historians of the time. They also were the folks who went in and tended the graves of both the union and confederate soldiers.

      I think the article you left is a pretty good representation of all the good McIntire did as a philanthropist. I think it is noteworthy that he gave land for the black citizens to enjoy recreation also. That seems pretty even handed to me. All parks were segregated in those days, even when I was a child. I give him credit for his generosity at the time. I feel certain he was criticized for it.

      Cville City is also violating the deed accompanying the land he gave for Lee Park.

      I almost never agree with Trump. I can count on one hand. But he did ask the question, where does it end? If we remove everything and every body in this country who ever had anything to do with segregation or slavery, either by default, accident or intent, we will be looking at a giant waste land.

      Slavery and near genocide of the Indians is simply the national blight. Nothing will remove it. Taking down Robert E. Lee or removing Columbus won’t make it go away. In fact, doing those things simply makes matters worse.

      I think we as a nation need to look at real things that will improve life for everyone, starting with health care for everyone, facing the drug epidemic, diminishing homelessness, making sure safe reliable contraception is available to all who want it, and SNAP programs for men women and children who fall into poverty zones. Those issues are hurting people, not bronze statues.

    2. Perhaps all slave owners were brutal, by definition. Who knows what he was. He did free his slaves, inherited through his wife.

      I am not sure where all these museums are to take all the statues. I don’t think they exist. Then someone is going to start bitching about all the Civil War museums being built.

      I don’t think there is a lovelier street than Monument Ave. in Richmond I couldn’t begin to name who all is there. All I know is Authur Ashe and Robert E. Lee. The thought that that street would be destroyed in some knee jerk reaction sickens me. I would put up more statues rather than tearing some down.

  5. Robin Hood

    Save your keystrokes for something more important, such as school construction bonds. This renaming is not going to happen anytime soon. A bipartisan majority won’t take action without studying costs, consequences and community input.

    1. I guess I get to decide what is important to me. Being run over by a little know-nothing local dictator is pretty important to me. I have seen this individual do very little for the children of PWC schools.

      1. Robin Hood


        Let’s define the problem correctly. Good things like school construction bonds get overshadowed by these silly wedge issues. That’s his major malfunction.

      2. I will agree that he has had too many side issues, including his own avocation which seems to also be a distractor.

  6. Watching

    Like I said, I was just being a contrarian, I agree that on so many levels these wedge issues are stupid. What is the issue with the school construction bonds? Can someone fill me in?

    1. Being a contrarian makes people think…it’s a healthy habit. 🙂

    2. Robin Hood


      I can answer that.

      The school board asked administration to draft a proposal including how much it would take to catch up to class sizes from a decade ago, before the recession. They passed it on to the Board of County Supervisors but it was deferred while wedge issues preoccupied both boards. So they fought about bathroom access and a new baseball stadium. The proposal should come back up if people can focus on what really matters and leave all of the noise behind.

  7. NorthofNokesville

    Hey, Moon … we seriously need a September open thread, even if it feels like October.

    Cue up, “It’s the most wonderful time, of the year …..”

    1. Hold on…Sept coming up….

  8. So how it the march from cville to DC coming along? Has DC fallen yet? It sounds like succession in reverse. Yes, I am being snarky.

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