Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has quietly declared April 2010 Confederate History Month, bringing back a designation in Virginia that his two Democratic predecessors -- Mark Warner and Tim Kaine -- refused to do.Look, there's no reason to pretend that Confederate history isn't part of the history of the United States of America. However, declaring Confederate History Month in Virginia doesn't exactly make me want to give my tourism dollars to the Old Dominion, ya know? It's history. I've been to many historic sites in the state over the years, from Williamsburg to Roanoke to Jamestown and all over in between. It doesn't mean some people are necessarily going to celebrate that particular chapter in our history, because it wasn't exactly a happy one.
Republican governors George Allen and Jim Gilmore issued similar proclamations. But in 2002, Warner broke with their action, calling such proclamations, a "lightning rod" that does not help bridge divisions between whites and blacks in Virginia.
This year's proclamation was requested by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. A representative of the group said the group has known since it interviewed McDonnell when he was running for attorney general in 2005 that he was likely to respond differently than Warner or Kaine.
"We've known for quite some time we had a good opportunity should he ascend the governorship," Brandon Dorsey said. "We basically decided to bide our time and wait until we had more favorable politicians in Richmond."
Dorsey said the governor's stamp of approval would help the group publicize the month and aide tourism efforts in the state.
Good thing we live in the post-racial era of Barack Obama, huh.