Category Archives: Culture wars

Two More More Book Reviews: This Time C-Ville

By Peter Galuszka

I was impressed with Dick’s thoughtful take on Margaret Edds’ book on early civil rights leaders that I thought I’d point readers to two reviews of books on the Unite the Right Movement that ran in this week’s Style Weekly:

More in the Nefarious Hunt for DARK MONEY!

By Peter Galuszka

Sound the klaxon horn at Bacon’s Rebellion! More DARK MONEY is coming to pollute the state’s glorious electoral process.

Emily’s List, a PAC supporting female Democratic candidates, has announced that it is planning on donating an extra $1.5 million to help flip the GOP-controlled Virginia General Assembly.

Along with another $600,000 Emily’s List gift made jointly with Priorities USA, the money is the largest single investment the PAC has ever made in an individual state’s legislative elections, according to WTOP Radio of Washington.

Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock said the races are underfunded and the funds should help 39 women running in Virginia’s off-year elections flip the General Assembly.

That’s not all. According to The Washington Post, U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria (D. 2nd) has created a committee to raise $228,000 to match the same amount raised by Republicans to fight her reelection next year. The reason for the GOP largesse? Luria, along with U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-7th), had the unmitigated gall to sign a letter in the Post of several Members of Congress with defense or intelligence calling for the impeachment of President Donald Trump (not a bad idea in my book). Luria is a retired Navy commander and Spanberger was a covert officer for the Central Intelligence Agency.  Continue reading

The Last of The Pistol Packin’ Mamas?

By Peter Galuszka

Part buffoon, part populist, state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, has for years represented white resentment against modern times, Tea Party-style.

She’s picked up on every bad feeling out there and amplified it, including pent-up anger against minorities, immigrants, government workers, women’s rights and gun control advocates and more.

She’s had a weekly radio show, “Cut to the Chase” in her home Chesterfield County where she vented her views.

When the Senate considered ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment passed decades ago, she strapped on a .38 revolver on her right hip, sashayed to the podium and pronounced it “My personal ERA.”

To be sure, Chase did some things right. She blocked Dominion when it tried to push its way to dispose of coal ash waste on its terms. Then she stumbled. She got into a pointless verbal battle with a Capitol police officer, who happened to be African-American, about where she can park. She annoyed female voters by implying that rape can somehow be their own fault. Her campaign material said she’s not afraid to “shoot down gun groups” in a state where worries about gun control are the No. 1 concern. Then she insulted Sheriff Karl Leonard, a fellow GOP candidate, by saying he had let Chesterfield become “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants. The untruthfulness of the comment was too much for the county GOP, which booted her on Sept. 30.

Chase is still running for the 11th Senate seat against Democrat Amanda Pohl who has seriously out-raised her in political funds. Chase could still win in November, but the events represent a turning point. Continue reading

Virginia Annals of Political Correctness, October 2019

Cancel culture comes to Virginia. Anna Grace Calhoun, a first-year engineering student at the University of Virginia, detests Dominion Energy. She regards Dominion as a predatory, monopolistic, rate-gouging and environmentally retrograde blight upon Virginia, and she has distilled her-left-wing critique into a letter published in the UVa student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily. She is entitled to her views, of course, and many people share them. What warrants mention in the Virginia Annals of Political Correctness is that she goes beyond criticizing the utility to calling for the university to disassociate itself from the company. “If the University and its associated organizations take seriously their espoused goal of producing positive leaders,” she writes, “they need to think harder about what careers and corporations they’re funneling students into.”

That’s how the so-called “cancel culture” works — define your enemy, stigmatize it, ostracize it, and and drive it from the public sphere.

Another hate hoax. It was a big story in the national media when a 12-year-old African-American student accused three white male students at Immanuel Christian School of holding her down in a school playground a week ago, covering her mouth, making racist comments about her “nappy” hair, and cutting her hair with scissors. Not only did the story feed the stereotypes of modern-day liberals and progressives — white, male Christian kids acting atrociously, like the MAGA hat-wearing kid smirking at the Native American drummer — it offered as a delicious bonus the fact that Vice President Pence’s wife Karen Pence was a part-time art teacher there. After a Fairfax County police investigation, however, the girl has recanted her story about the school-yard incident. Refreshingly, in this case the mainstream media was quick to update and correct the story.

Bacon Bits: River Preservation, Truth in Tuition, and Election Interference

Goat Island

Good deed of the day. Riverside Outfitters, which provides guided kayak, raft, tube, and paddleboard trips, has paid $11,000 to purchase Goat Island, a one-acre islet in the James River. The outfitting company will make the island openly available for public use as a destination for canoers and paddleboarders, reports Richmond BizSense. The company plans to rid non-native plants from the islet and, if legal, bring back some goats, but has no plans to develop it. The James River may not be as big and powerful as other rivers, but it is more beautiful than most. While other metropolitan develop their riverfronts, the Richmond region has moved to preserve the James as an environmental and recreational treasure. Smart move!

Truth in tuition. Randolph College has slashed its list price for tuition, room, and board from $54,101 to $36,000. Pursuing a high-tuition, high-discount model, the small liberal arts college near Lynchburg had been discounting heavily from that price. But administrators concluded that the high sticker price was scaring away potential applicants, reports the News & Advance. Not realizing that the average discount rate for freshmen at private colleges averages more than 50%, many families don’t even bother applying to schools with high list prices. Randolph College, which has 620 students enrolled, hopes to increase the entering class by 5% yearly over the next five years.

Dodge Challenger has become a verb. Daniel McMahon of Brandon, Fla., has been arrested for charges relating to cyber-stalking and threats that led to an African-American activist, Don Gathers, dropping out of a race for Charlottesville City Council. McMahon, a white supremacist, “was motivated by racial animus and used his social-media accounts to threaten and intimidate a potential candidate for elective office,” said U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen, in a statement. “Hey Antifa, it’s simple,” McMahon wrote online, reports the Washington Post. “Wanna know how to not get Dodge Challenged or shot? Don’t attack Right Wingers ever.” James Fields, the white supremacist who killed Heather Heyer during the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville two years ago, drove a Dodge Challenger. Disgusting.


Virginia’s Human Trafficking Horror

by James A. Bacon

Virginia’s elected officials don’t agree about much. But they do share one common interest across the partisan divide: fighting human trafficking. Even in our hyper-partisan world, Democrats and Republicans still can unite over the proposition that sexual enslavement and exploitation is a bad thing.

In October of 2018, the Human Trafficking Institute released a report in which Virginia ranked sixth in the nation for active human trafficking cases. That comes from the Virginia Tech Collegiate Times. According to Sen Siobhan Dunnavant, R-Henrico, the National Human Trafficking Hotline reports that there were more than 950 reported cases of human trafficking between December 2007 and June 2017.

Do a Google search for “Virginia human trafficking,” however, and see what results you get. Most reporting on the subject comes from local TV stations. Virginia’s major newspapers have produced almost nothing worthy of note. Indeed, in the top four pages of search results, the only report listed from the Richmond Times-Dispatch was an article describing how the Henrico County police chief debunked social media reports of human trafficking in Short Pump. Continue reading

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.    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