CHARLOTTESVILLE, MON AMOUR
Saturday, August 12, 2017, delivers deep sadness. Once one experiences life in Charlottesville, the place takes up a special place in one’s education and life. I find her recent defilement unacceptable. Professor Larry Sabato has tweeted the University of Virginia is closed.
Attending the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences there – living on the corner of Madison and University Ave, diagonally across from the majestic Rotunda – was truly idyllic. Sitting in a classroom under Dr. Merrill D. Peterson (The Jeffersonian Image in the American Mind) was no minor academic challenge. Still, The anger on last weekend’s tragedy remains inconsolable.
This charming university town is where young people come to learn, develop, grow-up, and become whole. Now, its tradition and purpose has been violated – thanks to ignorant “racist goons” on both sides (wacko alt-rightist and Black Lives Matter). These unhinged, ugly outsiders purposefully traveled there to bring civil unrest.
With all due respect to the easy surface issues, honest diligence requires deeper consideration. Some leadership there perpetuated growing conflict by giving way to the obscenity of political correctness over the R.E. Lee statue, easily ignoring solid civil rights history.
It was their Democratic party, who, by and large, maintained white supremacy, severe segregation in the first half of Virginia’s 20th century – not the Republicans. Virginians, under Republican Ted Dalton, Radford, Va. made certain it was unacceptable back in 1953. We should never forget that Republicans in Congress salvaged the Civil Rights legislation for the then Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson. Where have the editorialists been on that subject?
Maybe it is time for Charlottesville’s leadership and others go back and crack a few solid history books. There is a lot more to all this.
Then there is the local political leadership. With apparent University support – taking over Charlottesville’s political structure, with a group of self-assured, self-centered politicians bringing mockery and depriving Mr. Jefferson’s village of balanced government. By advocating a poisonous political correctness; they engineered a new definition of simple subversion. Realizing or not, this leadership dismissed the traditional culture of community.
Mayor Michael Signer, oozing with condescension and total self-righteousness, exhibited himself for our entire nation to view, evaluate. Signer came to Charlottesville political service from the UVA classroom. Appearing first with Governor McAuliffe in a press conference, then on the ever-inviting CNN, Signer displayed an insufferable moral preening – playing a totally adopted heroic role vs. the irredeemable, with whom he is surrounded. One’s reaction: nothing more than UGH – stick-finger-down-the-throat time.
Additionally, the mayor went so far as to blame the president after Trump’s very clear, solid statement about “all sides responsible”. It wasn’t good enough for him, nor the mainstream media. Surprise! No question we can count on Signer to be one of the Republican/Trump-hating extremist. Irony upon all ironies – David Duke stands with Michael Signer in their criticism of President Trump. These two stoke the “outrage machine” hand-in-hand.
The deaths of Charlottesville native, Heather Heyer, a young paralegal from Greene County, and the Virginia State Policemen: Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, Quinton, Va.; Lt. H. Jay Cullen, Midlothian, Va., was nothing short of obscene, and one must ask – for what?
Now, Emancipation Park will carry its own history as a place where terrorism prevailed despite all the lofty intentions. The Richmond Times Dispatch clearly reported that both sides were militarized in some fashion. They both arrived to war –alt. rights vs. counter protesters.
I cannot help but envision Robert E. Lee saddled up , looking down at the mob below….quietly saying: hey, I’ll leave quietly so you can pursue your lives. He would be heartbroken – simply riding away to separate himself from the academic riff raff.
As a Richmonder, it is required to end with a cautionary note: our Mayor Levar Stoney had better look out for his “fire bell in the night.” It is headed in his direction…the recent meeting at the Virginia Historical Society was ever so propitious.
Charlottesville, mon amour – you deserved so much better from all sides – from all of us.