Earlier this week, Virginia's Governor Bob McDonnell created a firestorm by making a proclamation that made April Confederate History Month.
Governors do this sort of thing all the time. Its one of the perks of being the governor. But all this sillyness of declaring a month for something is just a little out of hand.
North Carolina's Governor Beverly Prudue has declared April to be “FINANCIAL LITERACY FOR YOUTH MONTH” as well as:
Autism Awareness Month
Cesarean Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Fair Housing Month
Guardian ad Litem Child Advocate Month
American Red Cross Station Volunteers Month
Fabry Disease Awareness Month
Public Health Month
Child Abuse Prevention Month
Parkinson's Disease Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month
Organ Donation Awareness Month
Children and Nature Awareness Month
and Safe Digging Month
But for some reason the declaration of April as Confederate History Month brings up an old festering chasm between people who have some really strong feelings about the whole North vs South thing.
April is the cruelest month. Or, if you live in Virginia, Confederate History Month, wrote The New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins in her OpEp piece "A Confederacy of Dunces" which is reprinted in today's Charlotte Observer as "Rewriting History in Old Virginny". In the editioral she proclaims: "Actually, a national discussion of Civil War history sounds fine — as long as we could start by agreeing that the whole leaving-the-union thing was a terrible idea."
(I really question the Charlotte Observer's printing an Op-Ed's by a New York columist and giving the price a new headine "Rewriting history in Old Virginny" which I think is pretty insulting)
While Gail's comments are in step with the standard northern centrist view her readers go nutty over the whole Confederacy idea;
"Proclaiming Confederate History Month without mentioning slavery would be like honoring German soldiers for their bravery in World War Two without mentioning Hitler or Nazism or the Holocaust".
"To honor the "principles" of the Confederacy is simply immoral. Would we tolerate "Apartheid Heritage Month" in South Africa or "Nazi Heritage Month" in Germany? More importantly, neither South Africans nor Germans would tolerate that. Yet we have, and probably will continue to, venerate the "Lost Cause" instead of consigning it to the dustbin of history".
"Some people just cannot accept that they lost - in 1865, in 1965, and most recently in 2008."
"Do we need to send William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant to straighten them out again?"
More comments here.
If you read through the comments in the New York Times you would think we are a society of the verge of some sort of "ethic cleansing".
Thankfully we haven't devolved to the point of dragging people out of their cars and beating them just because the have a McCain or Obama sticker on their bumper. At least not yet.
But the real surprise is the news that started it all got little attention here in the South. Even Obama's statement that the Governor's proclamation omitting slavery was unacceptable, got very little attention.
Must be the great weather we are having here in the South or maybe we are more concerned that in North Carolina April is Safe Digging Month.