Well, folks, we’re down to the final three episodes in our Confederate heritage follies countdown. Today let’s highlight the two runners-up. It’s a tribute to the winner that in just about any other year, these two stories would have been clear winners.
3. Matthew Heimbach, Virginia Flagger: Making his second appearance in the top eleven, Mr. Heimbach owes much of his fame to the way that the Virginia Flaggers responded to revelations of his association with him. He’s marched with them; they’ve befriended him (a lot), with Tripp Lewis assuring us all that he’s a good guy. Susan Hathaway even invited him to the Flaggers’ annual picnic. The Flaggers embraced him as one of their own when the SCV recognized his contributions to Confederate heritage. This left Flaggers spokesperson Connie Chastain in a bit of a dither, as her rants that the Flaggers had nothing to do with Heimbach fell on deaf ears as evidence mounted that the Flaggers and their friends really, really liked him. At that moment Connie fell silent, which was a welcome change.
It’s all caught on tape (go to the 5:30 mark and see who stands proudly right behind the Flaggers’ banner):
The Flaggers chose to associate with Mr. Heimbach, and failed to repudiate that association, either collectively or individually. Even the League of the South decided differently.
2. Rob Walker, Heritage Hero: Perhaps the only thing more painful than shooting yourself in the foot is doing it with a cattle prod/baton/taser … or at least claiming you did. As much as the Virginia Flaggers love Matthew Heimbach, for a while they seemed to love Rob Walker even more, to the point that Susan Hathaway believed that his presence was a sign of God’s blessing of the Flaggers. After all, wasn’t that the best explanation when Rob Walker told first Tripp Lewis and then Susan herself of his gallantry in defending a Confederate memorial dedicated to Jefferson Davis against vandals in Richmond? Surely if Tripp Lewis endorses a story, it must be true!
As Susan declared: “There is no denying God’s hand in this… in bringing Rob to Monument Ave. last November, and then, miraculously again last night at the exact moment and time to prevent what could have been irreparable damage to one of our most treasured monuments AND facilitating the first arrest (that we are aware of) of these punk vandals that have no regard for the rule of law: neither God’s nor man’s.”
Well, the Lord works in mysterious ways. It turns out that the story wasn’t true. That’s right, the Flaggers were bamboozled. The Richmond police confirmed that. So, belatedly, did Susan Hathaway. Rob disappeared, the Flaggers disavowed him, and all returned to normal.
I bet they wish they’d done the same thing with Matthew Heimbach.
Next: the winner!