Best Defense

OK, let’s have a Nat Turner Day, too

The governor of Virginia has just issued a proclamation declaring this month "Confederate history month." He did so at the request of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I can live with that. I have no problem with honoring a state’s heritage-as long as all the citizens have their heritage fairly represented. So, Gov. Bob McDonnell, ...

wikipedia.org
wikipedia.org

The governor of Virginia has just issued a proclamation declaring this month "Confederate history month." He did so at the request of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I can live with that. I have no problem with honoring a state’s heritage-as long as all the citizens have their heritage fairly represented.

So, Gov. Bob McDonnell, how about a Nat Turner Day? I speak as someone who probably had relatives terrified by him and his band in 1831, but who thinks we need to embrace our entire history, or rightly be called foolish hypocrites. (My ancestor Isaac Ricks settled on the Nansemond River way back when, near the Isle of Wight County line. My saintly wife and I celebrated our anniversary a few years ago by doing a two-day staff ride, first of Cold Harbor and then of Nat Turner’s Ride.)

Thanks, governor. Your statement reads like something that could have been issued in response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It reminded me that whenever my free market instincts make me wonder if the Republicans might be making some sense on financial policy that Southern Republicans really can’t be trusted on the big, nation-defining issues of the 21st century.

This act makes the state look far worse than I think it is. I’m in southwestern Virginia as I write this. It is a beautiful area, and I am looking forward to a 34-mile bicycle ride later today from the Tennessee border down into the Valley of Virginia. If the governor is just trying to encourage tourism, there are better ways to do it.

Charlieford, feel free to chime in here.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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