There's a reason that this is the most frequently embedded video on DWT. It explains the Republican base better than anything I've ever seen. And it sure explains the Lost Cause perfectly, especially the last 5-6 seconds. Let me come back to that in a few minutes and address how different on the surface these folks are from the plantation owners like Glenn Youngkin, but how much the same they are at their core.
But first, I want to point out an essay this morning by Erin Thompson, a professor of art crime at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Confederate Heritage Groups Are Keeping The Lost Cause On Life Support. Thompson wrote about the controversy surrounding the Charlottesville bronze equestrian statue of the traitor Robert E. Lee and attempts to melt it down. "Events such as the 'Unite the Right' rally," she wrote, "might make you think that fights about monuments are carried out by crowds of protesters battling to pull down or prop up statues. But the real battle for control over American monuments is fought politely, out of public view, in courtrooms and municipal offices. If the Lee statue cannot be repaired, the current plaintiffs want its bronze to be cast into 'Civil War cannon' for placement on historic battlefield. Rather than wanting to melt our swords into plowshares and finally reconcile the divides of the Civil War, they propose a different bellicose image. Too many of our monuments were put up without any public input, by people wealthy enough to pay for them. We should not let the process of their transformation be controlled by a similarly small group of plaintiffs with deep enough pockets to pay for legal life support for the Lost Cause.
Robert Greene II and Tyler Parry, also at the Washington Post and also writing about conservative-- much always translates to "racist"-- Southern heritage and how it impacted human beings. In their case it wa show the racists were able to shit-can Reconstruction notably then, but also in the history books of the era and beyond. They wrote about the overlooked historic figure Henry Hayne, one of South Carolina's unsung heroes of Reconstruction. Unfortunately, Southern conservatives-- racists-- made sure the era "proved short-lived due to the schemes and violence of white supremacists who retook state governmental power in 1877, eventually establishing the era of Jim Crow racist brutality and segregation. White legislators accused Hayne and others in the Reconstruction government of corruption as a way to seek retribution for their political activism and their fight against White supremacy... We know so little about Hayne’s later life in part because he was erased from South Carolina history. And this erasure was no accident. Though the Jim Crow era is most well known for its manifestations of physical violence and the immobilization of the Black body politic, it also produced historians who were specifically trained to romanticize the 'Old South,' misrepresent the period of Reconstruction as an abject failure, and deny that Black and White people could coexist in the same spaces or live in a state of equality."
Jim Crow’s revisionist historians never hid their true beliefs about Reconstruction’s goal of expanding opportunities for the South’s most marginalized populations. In fact, one historian clearly outlined his opposition to USC’s desegregation in 1925, saying it simply “fell victim to the mania for social equality” and was degraded in the process. These biased and bigoted historians invented the myth that Reconstruction was a failure.
Yet Hayne’s life shows the very different reality of Reconstruction history-- and its significance within the broader American story. He represents what Black Americans could have achieved in this period, if only allowed to do so. At the same time, the fact that he is barely remembered alongside such contemporaries as Frederick Douglass exposes how many Americans are still uncomfortable with the Reconstruction era. But grappling with this history-- and its legacy-- is a crucial element to understanding why racism and racial inequality persist. It was a moment of great possibility dashed by bigotry and a lack of will with ramifications that shaped everything that came after it.
Today’s arguments about voting rights, the role of race in American history and the accessibility of higher education all trace back to the successes-- and failures-- of the Reconstruction era. Within the realm of education, African Americans at many White-majority institutions continue to struggle for acceptance and inclusion. But like Hayne and the other African American students at USC during the 1870s, they continue to excel despite the numerous obstacles thrown at them, knowing that their hard work is merely the continuation of Black progress and achievement. They move forward despite the many historical setbacks thrown their way. Henry Hayne’s own story is an example of that, and his life and legacy deserve greater attention.
And that brings us back to Glenn Youngkin. He's not like one of the conservative (racist) Mississippians in the video up top. As Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella made clear Saturday, Youngkin is even worse. When he ran for governor, he ran as a full-fledged racist asshole when he spoke to audiences of full-fledged racist assholes in the rural counties, but when he was on the media or speaking in the moderate suburban counties he sounded like a mainstream conservative. They wrote that all it took was a week in office for him to drop the pretences. "Youngkin," they wrote, "stormed into Richmond with an assertion of executive power that has thrilled the GOP base but caught even some allies off guard, and he has made clear that he views his two-point margin of victory as a mandate for conservative change.
But already the new governor has drawn a lawsuit from parents in Chesapeake over his executive order declaring an end to mask mandates in public school systems. The challenge led him Friday to issue another statement, which seemed to add to confusion about what will happen when his order takes effect Monday, saying parents should “listen to their principal” and “trust the legal process.”
Another executive order proclaiming a ban on teaching critical race theory-- or any “inherently divisive concepts”-- has the head of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus accusing Youngkin of a “war on Black history.”
“I was wondering if he would be more like DeSantis or Larry Hogan,” said longtime Richmond political analyst Robert Holsworth, referring to hard-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Maryland’s more moderate Republican governor. “But he really started with the culture wars, and, I think, in doing so, he has lost some political capital that he might have had with the Democrats.”
It’s a sharp turn for a state that had trended steadily blue for more than a decade and carries political risk for Youngkin. Although Republicans won a narrow majority in the House of Delegates, Democrats still have an edge in the Senate — giving them power to put the brakes on Youngkin’s agenda during the legislative session that began earlier this month.
The governor’s office issued a formal list of legislative priorities Friday evening, identifying specific bills and budget amendments that he supports to carry out his promises. Those include measures to expand the state’s Board of Elections and require a photo ID at the polls, as well as bills and budget items to suspend the gasoline tax, eliminate the grocery tax, boost the standard deduction and issue one-time tax rebates.
Youngkin’s wish list also includes a bill aimed at undoing some pro-labor measures Democrats enacted, such as repealing a mandate for project-labor agreements on public works and repealing the ability of public employees to engage in collective bargaining. Other legislation would pay for establishing public charter schools, putting resource officers in all schools and giving parents more power to prevent their children from being exposed to sexually explicit works in the classroom.
All of it would require action by the General Assembly and buy-in from Senate Democrats to become law.
Youngkin’s muscular use of executive action requires no such cooperation, though, and goes far beyond the practice of his predecessors in the Executive Mansion over the past 20 years. The five most recent governors-- four Democrats and one Republican-- all used their first executive actions on less incendiary topics: to call for fair and equal treatment of state employees; lay out powers for their chiefs of staff; and call for studies on issues of concern.
Youngkin, by contrast, has poked a stick directly into a host of polarizing issues, such as expanding the duties of the state’s diversity chief to include being an “ambassador for unborn children.” Along the way, his national profile has only risen, with Stephen Colbert satirizing his critical race theory directive on late-night TV and the conservative National Review posting a laudatory article about his quick, decisive actions.
“I’m suspicious that a number of issues he picked seem to rate more to a national movement, and he picked staff more related to national efforts than to Virginia,” said Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), the longest-serving member of the House. Many of Youngkin’s Cabinet picks are from outside Virginia.
But his advisers say Youngkin is focused on being governor. The national attention is “all organic,” said Kristin Davison, a political consultant with Axiom Strategies, which continues to advise Youngkin. “He’s not doing anything to pump it up. He’s very, very cognizant of focusing on [the legislative] session. … He’s not even focused on the national front. That doesn’t mean the national front isn’t focusing on him.”