In Virginia, a commonwealth named after a virgin queen — or at least the English believed she was — is also the home of the most public icons of a lost cause, a lost war and a losing battle to hold on to what was not and, thankfully, never will be.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which keeps an eye on hate groups that espouse terror and continue to wage war on the United States, says Virginia has 220 public symbols of a time when certain Americans turned their back on their country and killed other Americans to protect their right to own slaves.
Three military bases in Virginia bear the name of a Confederate military leader. Virginia and Georgia have more than 25 percent of the 700-pus statues and monuments celebrated a war the South lost. Of 109 public schools named for Confederate icons. Hypocritically, 25 percent of those schools teach a primarily black student body and a tenth of the schools have populations that are more than 90 percent black.
Some 500 roads, highways and bridge memorialize the Confederacy and those suns of he South are also the names of 80 counties and cities here in the land of the free.
Originally, the town of Floyd was “Jacksonville,” named for former President, Indian fighter and well-known troublemaker Andrew Jackson. The town was the county seat for Floyd County, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1831 by carving out a piece of Montgomery County and naming it for former governor John Floyd, who also ran for President in 1832 under the “Nullifier” party. Floyd carried South Carolina in that election and received 11 electoral votes.
Jacksonville, incorporated in 1858, petitioned for a name change and the General Assembly renamed the town as Floyd, same as the county.
At the county courthouse in Floyd, a statue of a generic Confederate soldier stands as a memorial to those who fought and died in the Civil War, or so we are told. Others talk about a company that sold a lot of the same statues to a lot of small towns and made a lot of money doing so.
No statue, however, of John Floyd, the governor whose name adorns the county and only incorporated town within its boundaries.
Some folks in Floyd question why the statue of a Confederate stands on the Courthouse lawn. Nob big uproar at this point. For the most part, something that sits in the grass without much recognition or controversy.
Removing the statue is not as easy as one might think. Only the Commonwealth can remove a war memorial. Towns and communities have no say in whether or not a war memorial stays or goes. During the Civil War, Floyd County had a large number of Union supporters and the county supported the Republicans during reconstruction.
Plans to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville brought white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan and other racists to the former home of Thomas Jefferson and violence that erupted in the event brought the death of a woman and dozens sought help in hospitals for treatment of wounds.
A 20-year-old Kentuckian now living in Ohio drove to Charlottesville last week to join his white supremacist colleagues to shout obscenities, threats and praise for Adolph Hitler.
James Alex Fields Jr., however, apparently wasn’t content with protesting and shouting and snapping Nazi salutes. FBI agents and Charlottesville police say he took to the wheel of a Dodge Challenger and slammed into a crowd of counter protesters who outnumber the racists and urged tolerance and love. News photos of the attack showed bodies thrown into the aid before slamming into the pavement as the Dodge plowed through the crowd at high speed.
Fields faces a murder charge for running down and killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer during his literal drive-through attack.
It took President Donald Trump three days to come up with what many felt was too little, too late in condemning the white supremacists, the KKK and the Nazi wannabes by reading, in a flat, unemotional tone that shows no concern or compassion.
Missing from his condemnation was any criticism of white nationalists and the alt-right.
Then later that same day, he flew off in a tangent in front of reporters at the Trump Tower with by blaming both sides in the protests and rally and, actually, praising some of the white supremacists. Then it took another day to claim removing Confederate statues was “foolish.”
The deep cancer called racism continues to lurk just beneath the surface of the American psyche. It haunts this nation.
So do all those statues, memorials and icons of a failed, traitorous war by disruptive Southern thugs who tried to tear this country apart primarily so they could protect their right to enslave others for profit.
The current road to removal of Confederate memorials began in Charleston, S.C. after then governor Nikki Haley, now ambassador to the United Nations, ordered removal of the “Stars and Bars” flag from the statehouse grounds.
On Monday of this week, the Baltimore City Council decided to take down three statues in that Maryland City. They came down after dark, without any announcement, the next night.
Reported The Washington Post:
“It’s done,” Mayor Catherine Pugh told her city on Wednesday morning. She explained, “With the climate of this nation, that I think it’s very important that we move quickly and quietly.”
It is time to bring down many more of those icons of a perverse time in American society.
No. It is long, past time. Time for America to move on.