Virginia Democrats Are Attacking Robert E. Lee Statue To Whitewash Their Own Racism

Virginia Democrats Are Attacking Robert E. Lee Statue To Whitewash Their Own Racism

Virginia Democrats want to exploit African-American voters with righteous indignation over statues to distract from their hypocritical offenses and to avoid talking about the issues that matter to Virginia families today.

Case in point: while most Virginians raced to spend the holidays with their families, Virginia Democrats raced to be the most self-righteous and the most outraged, with many calling for the removal and replacement of the Robert E. Lee statue in the U.S. Capitol building. But no one wants to call this what it really is: the far left’s hypocritical attempt to whitewash racism in Virginia’s recent history, committed by Democratic leaders still in office today.

First, let me be clear: all American history, even slavery, should be represented and not painted over. Virginians should be educated and reminded of our past to ensure such horrors do not repeat. That is why we should not rid ourselves of historic reminders like statues. When we cover up unappealing history and the reminders of its existence, we run the risk of allowing such beliefs to manifest in younger generations, due to their unawareness of our history.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam says removing the Robert E. Lee statue is something he has “long wanted to do,” but was that before or after it was discovered he dressed in blackface as an adult and Virginians called for his resignation? If Democratic Reps. Jennifer Wexton and A. Donald McEachin are so passionate about removing the statue, do they also believe our governor should resign for his racist past?

As an African American man, I am fully aware that racism exists today, but I live my life and raise my daughters with the belief that we cannot let it affect our daily lives. We cannot harbor bitterness. And we cannot whitewash over the governor’s indiscretions any more than we should our history of slavery that, to many, Lee represents.

History is not only about battles won, but about the lessons learned and the reason battles were fought in the first place. Our mistakes do not need to define us, but teach us lessons to be better men and women.

Yet that’s not what Virginia Democrats are concerned about. They want to exploit black voters with self-serving anger over historical statues to distract from their hypocrisy and policy failures that affect Virginia families every day. They cry racism while ignoring important issues such as unemployment, criminal justice reform, education, and economic opportunity — all issues, coincidentally, President Donald Trump has been focused and delivering on since the day he took office. We are better than the Democrats’ games.

The fact that a Republican president has delivered more tangible wins for the African American community than the Democrats pushing to tear down a decades-old statue is something the liberal left cannot stomach. The fact that someone in their own party committed a racist offense more recently than the generals of the Civil War is an ugly truth they prefer we don’t acknowledge.

But this is not an us-versus-them debate. We are Virginians. We are Americans. Virginia Democrats would rather we take sides in these debates by pitting us against each other. That keeps them in power. But we must stand together and learn from the scars of our past — however historic or recent they may be — and get back to doing the work of the people.

Omari Faulkner is the author of the new book “Athlete for Life.” He is a proud American, former diplomat, Georgetown professor, and a staunch supporter of culture, history and diplomacy. Follow his work on Twitter @OmariFaulkner.
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