Category Archives: Culture wars

Catholic Bashing No Disqualification for Northam?

Gail Gordon Donegan and Unidentified Friend

by Steve Haner

Try this thought experiment. Imagine a headline in the state capitol newspaper reading: “Appointee’s posts disparage Republicans and others on the web.” Or swap Democrats for Republicans.  Would anybody bat an eye?

Instead, of course, the story in the Richmond Times Dispatch is about Governor Ralph Northam’s recent appointment of a vicious Catholic-hating Democratic activist from Alexandria to the Virginia Council on Women. If her appointment is not withdrawn and her rhetoric not repudiated by first Mass on Sunday morning, shame on Governor Northam.

Whoever vetted the appointment should go with her. If reporter Patrick Wilson found all his examples, or they were fed to him within a short time, there no excuse for the Secretary of the Commonwealth missing them. One must assume the office did not. This should blow up into as large a blot on Northam’s record as the yearbook photo and his dithering responses, some of which must have been lies. Continue reading

The New African Migration

Image source: Pew Research Center

by James A. Bacon

While the United States indulges in an orgy of introspection over the 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans arriving on the shores of Virginia, it might be worthwhile reminding ourselves that that was then, and this is now. It may have escaped the notice of the New York Times, but the country has changed.

Africans are coming voluntarily to the United States by the tens of thousands every year. And, in an irony of ironies according to a 2017 Pew Research Center report, African immigrants are most likely to live in the South — 39% reside in the former center of slavery compared to 25% in the Northeast, and much smaller percentages in the Midwest and West. Virginia, by the way is one of seven states with African-born populations of more than 100,000.

Historians estimate that 400,000 enslaved Africans came to North America during the 200-year period in which the trans-Atlantic slave trade was practiced in the English colonies and the newly independent United States. Pew estimates that 2 million Africans (the vast majority of whom are from sub-Saharan countries) have emigrated to the U.S. since 1990. Americans need to be honest about the nation’s past of slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and discrimination. But we also need to be honest about the nation that we have become. America is a land of opportunity for all people of all races and ethnicities.

Do “White People” Suppress Black History?

Christy Coleman

by James A. Bacon

Christy Coleman, CEO of the American Civil War Museum in Richmond and an African-American, professes to know how white people think. Here’s what she said yesterday at a Richmond forum that, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, was organized “to dispel racism against African Americans.”

White people want to feel good about their history, and that means everyone else has to forget about theirs. Well, I’m not in that business.


First point: I’m such a dinosaur I can remember what it was like growing up in the 1960s when I was taught that it was wrong to make sweeping generalities about the people of other races and cultures. That was called “stereotyping.” When applied to blacks and minorities, stereotyping was considered a form of racism. Now, apparently, it is deemed acceptable to make sweeping derogatory generalities about “white people.” Continue reading

From Oppression Narrative to Opportunity Narrative

by James A. Bacon

I have fallen into a trap — a snare of my own making. Day after day, Americans are subjected to a barrage of commentary and “news” on the topic of racial/gender-driven victimhood and grievance, the most recent example being today’s New York Times‘ 16019 Project, which reinterprets American history through the lens of slavery and racism as if they were the sole defining attributes of the American experience. And I react to this stuff. When the issues hit home at a state/local level, I devote article after article detailing the falsehoods, unfounded assumptions, and sins of omission. Because there is a never-ending supply of victimhood-and-grievance stories, a never-ending rounds of rebuttals is called for. As a result, I spend far more time writing about what I’m against than what I’m for.

Today I shall devote myself today to outlining in broad brush strokes a positive vision for Virginia going forward. In the long run, parsing the  flaws of the Victimhood and Grievance Narrative will take us only so far. If those espousing conservative/libertarian principles wish to win converts, they need to formulate an alternative narrative — what I’ll call the Opportunity Narrative — that appeals to all peoples and creeds.

The Victimhood and Grievance Narrative is inherently backward looking, dwelling on past injustices to stoke the resentments of racial/ethnic groups. (It is important to note that some on the Right have adopted the rhetoric and logic of group-based grievance and victimhood, making them guilty of sins similar to those of the Left.) The forward-looking Opportunity Narrative asks, how do we empower individuals, regardless of racial/ethnic/gender identity, to improve their lives? Continue reading

Can VT Thrive If It Alienates Half the Population?

Virginia Tech is hot right now — very hot. The university is building a high-tech campus in Alexandria, its fund-raising efforts are collecting unprecedented sums of money, its faculty members are snaring serious venture capital funding. And in a new Money magazine survey ranking U.S. universities by “value,” it logged a very respectable position at No. 34.

The big question is whether Tech can sustain this momentum while transforming its campus culture into such an in-your-face caricature of political correctness that it risks offending large swaths of its customer base — middle-class parents who hew to more conservative values. The indoctrination of leftist values on issues of gender, sexuality, and race in this fall’s orientation was offensive to some.

Writes Penny Nance in the Federalist, “I was shocked to experience what I can only describe as extreme and overtly leftist propaganda. … The school constantly defined and showcased identity group politics. … As a mom, part of me wanted to load my son in the car and head up the road to Liberty University.” Continue reading

Winners and Losers Two Years After Charlottesville

The infamous Unite-the-Right rally in Charlottesville took place two years ago today. The event degenerated into a pitched street battle between white supremacists and militant leftists, culminating with the death of counter-protester Heather Heyer when a white supremacist ran his car into the middle of a crowd. The riot traumatized the Charlottesville community, the state of Virginia, and indeed the entire nation.

It is interesting to see how the nation has processed the tragedy. From my vantage point, the big loser is Governor Terry McAuliffe, whose flawed law-enforcement contributed to the breakdown in order. The big winners are the leftist radicals whose shared culpability for the violence has been virtually expunged from the mainstream media narrative.

Mac the Dull Knife. McAuliffe, who reportedly entertains ambitions of running for elected office again, has released a book, “Beyond Charlottesville,” which he purports to be “the definitive account of an infamous chapter in our history.” The former governor exonerates himself for allowing the protest to turn into a riot. Conservatives never bought McAuliffe’s story. It turns out the Left isn’t buying it either. Continue reading

National Mental Breakdown

The United States is having a mental breakdown. Two mass shootings in a single day is a sure sign that the polarization and viciousness of our politics is a reflection of a broader social sickness. Social cohesion is disintegrating. Mistrust is spreading. Rancorous rhetoric is displacing reasoned discourse. People are seeking refuge in tribal identities and wallowing in hate. Our national psyche is the most venomous it has been since the 1960s — the difference being that we don’t even have a massively unpopular war as an excuse for our divisions.

President Trump is part of the problem. The nation looks to its presidents to unite the country. Trump’s tweets are calculated to inflame his enemies and drive them to excess. And they succeed all too well. Democrats, shouting through their Mainstream Media bullhorn, depict Republicans and Trump supporters as bigots, racists, traitors, and xenophobes. Doubt me? Just watch MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” which feeds its million viewers every day with two hours of invective and bile.

The economy is booming and we’re engaged in no major foreign wars. Americans ought to be feeling good about themselves. But we’re miserable. People have advanced a variety of theories for our increasing division. Gerrymandering, some say, is creating safe districts for extremists in both parties. The fragmentation of media allows people to live in information echo chambers. Those play a role, but I think the malaise runs deeper. Society is atomizing. Civic society is in decline — more and more people are “bowling alone.” More people are feeling disconnected and alienated. The ties that bind us are dangerously fraying. Mental illness is endemic. Continue reading

More Blue on Blue: Terry McAuliffe’s White Privilege

Photo credit: WAMU

The radicalization of Virginia politics continues apace. Now former Governor Terry McAuliffe, nobody’s idea of a conservative, is getting the Joe Biden treatment — criticized by Leftists for his reactionary views, and getting respectful media treatment for it.

McAuliffe was plugging his new book at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, D.C., yesterday, when his book signing was disrupted by four residents of the People’s Republic of Charlottesville. In a 20-minute exchange that became heated at times, according to WAMU radio, the protesters took particular exception to McAuliffe’s defense of police actions during the infamous Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville two years ago and his promise to donate proceeds from the sales of his book to the Virginia State Police Association fund.

States WAMU: “At one point, a protester moved toward McAuliffe airing her concerns and then chanted, ‘Cops and the Klan go hand in hand.'”

“You’re using this book as a means to raise money for a contingent of people who contributed to terrorizing antiracist activists,” said Constance Paige Young, who said she was injured in the attack that killed Heather Heyer. “Please explain to me why you believe it’s appropriate to raise money for the very people who fail to keep us safe, and contributed to terrorizing us that day.” Continue reading

Remembering the World of 1619

Captain John Smith, mercenary, founder of Jamestown…. slave

In 1602, five years before he led the Virginia Company expedition to found a colony in the new world, John Smith fought as a mercenary in a war against the Ottoman Empire. Wounded in battle, he was captured by Crimean Tatars. He and his comrades were sold as slaves — “like beasts in a market,” as he later put it. Taken to Crimea, Smith escaped into Muscovy, from where he made his way to Poland, and then circuitously back to England in 1604.

It is worth remembering Smith’s brush with slavery as we ponder the significance of the founding of the New World’s first representative assembly in 1619 at Jamestown as well as the importation of the colony’s first African slaves. There is an increasing tendency in America’s intellectual class to view the United States as irredeemably stained from its inception. It may be true that Virginia established representative government, some suggest, but who was represented? White male property owners. According to this narrative, white Americans prospered through the oppression of native Americans and black slaves. Conceived in sin, some say, the American experiment was illegitimate at its birth.

Such a perspective commits the error of viewing the American colonies in isolation from what was happening in the rest of the world and then condemning the colonists for failing to live up to the standards of 21st-century values. Before adopting such a view, let us recall what the world was like in 1619. Slavery and other forms of servitude were nearly universal. What made England and its American colonies remarkable was not their sufferance of slavery for 200 years or more but their eventual willingness to abolish it. Continue reading

Let All Celebrate the 400th Anniversary in Jamestown

At least one elected Democratic Party official, it appears, will attend the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of representative government in North America at Jamestown later this month: Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax. While making clear that he shares the animus of other Virginia Democrats toward President Trump, he is choosing not to boycott the event.

Writes Fairfax: “I intend to honor, in this 400th anniversary year, our proud achievements as a representative democracy and the achievements of the enslaved African-Americans and their descendants who have contributed mightily to Virginia’s success. That is more important than the frenzied and fickle politics of the moment.”

Trump has demonstrated that on occasion he can conduct himself in a dignified, non-partisan manner. He surprised everyone with his 4th of July speech, and I expect the Jamestown commemoration will be similar. Democrats boycotting the ceremony will be the ones who come across as petulant and partisan. Fairfax is to be credited for not joining them.

The commemoration is a big deal. The birth of representative government (and, the same year, the arrival of the first African slaves) is a milestone in Virginia history and the development of democratic institutions. It is bigger than Trump. It is bigger than the partisan divide of 2019. Let all Virginians, for one brief moment, join to celebrate what unites us. We’ll have plenty of time later to fight over what divides us.

P.R.C. Scraps Jefferson Birthday Celebration

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

With those immortal words in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson declared the freedoms and liberties of Englishmen to be universal, applying to all people. As a slave holder, he failed to live up to the ideals he espoused. But his words inspired his generation to fight for independence, and inspired subsequent generations, who nearly succeeded in abolishing slavery in Virginia in 1831-82, fought a Civil War to end slavery, and fought and won Civil Rights for all. Without Jefferson’s words, without the principles he articulated and defended, those who now revile him would not enjoy the liberties they have today.

Showing an astonishing lack of historical perspective, the People’s Republic of Charlottesville (P.R.C.) City Council voted 4-1 Monday to scrap the decades-old April 13 holiday honoring the city’s most famous resident and, instead, will recognize Liberation and Freedom Day on March 3, the day Union army arrived in the city in 1865.

Speakers at the session denounced Jefferson as a racist and a rapist, reports the Daily Progress: Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part V

This is the final part of a five-part series on the transgender wars in Virginia.

by Tom Pafford

Around the 5th Century BC, Sun Tzu wrote a book on War.  No one comes close to what this Chinese master of battle devised. Chapter 6 in his book is titled, Week Points and Strong. Here is Sun Tzu’s advice…

You may advance and be absolutely irresistible if you make for the enemy’s weak points… Though the enemy be stronger in number, we may prevent him from fighting… Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots.

In Part One, I mentioned that Virginia has become a battleground for all things Transgender. Here’s how this came to be and why Fairfax County is important…

As you know, Fairfax County, Richmond, and Hampton Roads are Democratic Leftist strongholds. The vote there moves all of Virginia left. The Left has big goals for Virginia. Since 2013, major news outlets have stated that, “As Virginia goes, so goes the nation. Why? Because Virginia is a state that increasingly resembles the United States as a whole. Millions of dollars are funneled into Virginia to gain National momentum for a 2020 Democrat win and force the Transgender Catechism upon parents, children and society. I do not know their Virginia strategy, but it appears that Virginia is a must-win state. Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part IV

This is the fourth part of a five-part series on the transgender wars in Virginia.

by Tom Pafford

There is a song by Wendy McNeill, Ask Me No Questions, that reminds me of the Transgender Catechism. In the song, she meets a charming but unpleasant character who, like a chameleon, tempts her.  One verse sticks out…

I’ll say, can you see
It’s not about hope,
It’s not about truth,
Don’t be naïve
Just, come dance with me
I’ll keep you safe
Give you all you can take
I’ll make you happy

This Catechism is not about hope for you. It does not concern the truth about Trans. You would be naïve to think so.  But, if you embrace this Catechism, come dance with it, Trans will be given all they need to be safe. The Catechism will make Trans happy.

It’s a great story, just not for the rest of us. Here’s how the other half of the story is unfolding… Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part III

This is the third of a five-part series on Virginia’s transgender wars.

by Tom Pafford

The Left is waging a very successful War to manipulate the public into accepting Transgender identity as normal. Neither the LGB crowd, nor the “Right-Wingers” who do not accept Trans, have successfully countered this War. The Left’s agenda moves forward daily, e.g., the recently passed Equality Act by the House. And, it is based on a simple precept: “Ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lies.”

Little is known for certain about the causes of Trans. But there is no lack of studies.

Identical Twin Studies: When one identical twin is Trans, more often both are Trans. This frequency is not seen in fraternal twins, indicating that there may be a genetic influence for this identity.

Neurobiological Studies: The volume of the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminals (BSTc), a brain area essential for sexual behavior, is larger in men than in women. Studies show that Trans females had female-sized BSTc; the Trans males had male-sized BSTc. (Also see.) Continue reading

The Transgender Wars — Part II

This is the second part of a five-part series on the transgender wars in Virginia.

by Tom Pafford

A behind-the-scenes tug-of-war is happening between the Left and many in the LBG movement. You certainly won’t read about it in USA Today! But you can in Gay news outlets where Gay intellectuals state their concern over Gender Identity.

One such outlet is the Intelligencer:

As many of us [Gays] saw our goals largely completed and moved on, the far left filled the void. The movement is now rhetorically as much about race and gender as it is about sexual orientation. [intersectionality] prefers alternatives to marriage to marriage equality, sees white men as ‘problematic,’ masculinity as toxic, gender as fluid, and race as fundamental. They have no desire to seem ‘virtually normal’; they are contemptuous of “respectability politics” — which means most politics outside the left. Above all, they have advocated transgenderism, an ideology that goes far beyond recognizing the dignity and humanity and civil equality of trans people into a critique of gender, masculinity, femininity, and heterosexuality. ‘Live and let live’ became: “If you don’t believe gender is nonbinary, you’re a bigot.” I would be shocked if this sudden lurch in the message didn’t in some way negatively affect some straight people’s views of gays…. If the gay-rights movement decides to throw in with this new leftism, and abandon the moderation and integrationism of the recent past, they risk turning gay equality from being about a win-win process for gays and straights into a war between ‘LGBT’ people and the rest. That’s a battle none of us need to fight. Especially after the real war was won.

Continue reading