Sins of Omission, Sins of Commission: Virginia’s Governor Does It Again

Last April Virginia governor Robert McDonnell ignited a big fuss when he declared April “Confederate History Month” in Virginia.  Several bloggers, including yours truly, criticized the view of Civil War history contained in the proclamation.  Other critics seized upon the governor’s omission of slavery, and that became the subject of most of the commentary, including humorous remarks.

Governor McDonnell quickly apologized for omitting slavery, a shrewd political move.  The apology drew the ire of Virginia’s SCV organization, as could well be expected.  One SCV chapter issued its own proclamation.  Undeterred, in September the governor took the opportunity offered by an invitation to make some opening remarks at a conference in Virginia to show that he had indeed learned something from the whole affair about history as well as politics: “Next April our office will issue a ‘Civil War in Virginia’ proclamation commemorating the beginning of the Civil War in our state.”

It’s April 2011.

No word yet from the governor’s office.

Some bloggers have noticed the silence to date.  They include Kevin Levin, Robert Moore, and Andy Hall (along with me, we might form a band called “The Usual Suspects”).

Look, guys, issuing such a proclamation on April 1 might send the wrong message.  Issuing it on a slow news day … today … when so many people are more interested in the fortunes of Virginia Commonwealth University’s basketball team than in history would be unfair to both parties.  I doubt he’d issue it on Sunday, because that would be rubbing it in to the SCV on the 146th anniversary of the fall of Richmond.

There’s always Monday … unless VCU makes it to the championship game.  Let’s just say the governor knows that April 9th is out as well.  If you need to ask why …

The proclamation watch continues.


10 thoughts on “Sins of Omission, Sins of Commission: Virginia’s Governor Does It Again

  1. Lyle Smith April 3, 2011 / 8:00 am

    Enh… it’s only the third day of April.

    • Brooks D. Simpson April 3, 2011 / 9:33 am

      Which is why I would advise people not to be unhappy yet. Of course, now he’ll hear that a hearty group of determined bloggers forced his hand. 🙂

  2. Barnard April 3, 2011 / 10:01 am

    Regardless of what McDonnell does, I’m simply not convinced that sites like this or Kevin Levin or any of the others you list would be satisfied with the outcome. The fact that this group is ALREADY whining about all the possible “wrongs” he “might” commit when he hasn’t even issued a proclamation yet is direct testament to that.

    I generally think these and most other government “proclamations” of this month, that month, and the other are silly because they are inherently such obvious acts of group pander and meaningless window dressing. But the one thing that’s even sillier than the proclamations is the type of person who gets all worked up about what they did or did not contain. Including, apparently, before it’s even released.

    • Brooks D. Simpson April 3, 2011 / 10:27 am

      And yet here you are, getting worked up over something you deem to be silly and something else you deem sillier, which would make your response … silliest? Does that tell us something about the type of person you are?

      Food for thought.

      • Barnard April 3, 2011 / 11:26 am

        What indication do you have of anyone, save yourself, being “worked up?” I made a simple observation about the these proclamations and the silly, speculative discussions they produce. You are certainly free to disagree with that observation, but I think my points are amply demonstrated in the posts that precipitated them. Res ipsa loquitur.

        • Brooks D. Simpson April 3, 2011 / 11:50 am

          “What indication do you have of anyone, save yourself, being ‘worked up?'”

          Exhibit A: your two posts. Exhibit B: you mention other bloggers as “whining.” Have you forgotten? Already? Or are you so worked up that you’ve forgotten what you wrote?

          I’m not worked up at all. Nor am I whining. Had you read my post carefully and dispassionately, you would have seen that I explained why I thought criticism of the governor was premature. I offered suggestions as to why he might not have issued a proclamation on April 1 or over the weekend. You seem to be worked up and whining. It’s Sunday. Relax.

          Now, as to people who were worked up last year, I’ve pointed to several expressions by Virginia’s SCV. A dispassionate and objective observer would not have omitted them if the thrust was an observation about the silliness of getting worked up over a proclamation. Yet you seem to have overlooked them. Why is that? Were you too worked up? Or did you just want to whine?

          Wait … you don’t have to answer that question. I wouldn’t want you to get worked up over it or ask you to engage in the very silliness you deride. That would be your choice. I just wanted to remind you what was actually posted, not what you imagine was posted.

          But you’re free to whine in response. Your choice. Happy weekend.

      • Robert Moore April 3, 2011 / 1:49 pm

        Yup, not worked up here… just stating fact. Seems someone else, however, fits that definition far better than us.

        • Brooks D. Simpson April 3, 2011 / 1:55 pm

          So it would seem. I suspect the governor will issue a proclamation this coming week. Let’s see who’s unhappy then.

  3. Corey Meyer April 3, 2011 / 6:53 pm

    Any chance he is waiting for 12th of April?…you know for effect?

  4. Al Mackey April 3, 2011 / 7:30 pm

    April 16 is Richmond’s Civil War and Emancipation Day. I would expect something either then or before then.

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