Virginia "Sovereignty March" Claims Rep. Eric Cantor in Movement Steeped in Civil War Rhetoric -- And Worse
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There's something rotten in Virginia -- but it doesn't end there. Today it will arrive on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Since the election of a right-wing governor, Bob McDonnell, last year, a noisy contingent has been on a full-bore run to glorify the most inglorious aspects of its past as the seat of the Confederacy. Today, any lingering doubt that Virginia's top lawmakers sanction the discriminatory (and often racist) anti-government movement known by such names as the nullification movement and the Constitution Alliance may be laid to rest if, as organizers of the Virginia Sovereignty March promise, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., participates in an event on the U.S. Capitol grounds, at which he is expected to accept a letter from state lawmakers that declares the state's sovereignty. March organizers state on their Web site that Cantor will "officially receive the delegation at the U.S. Capitol," and that Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va., will take part in an event they will stage there, which, according to organizers, will feature Richard Viguerie, a founder of the religious right.
My call and e-mail to Cantor's office yesterday to confirm his participation are both unreturned at this writing, and my request to march organizers for the text of the letter was politely ignored. The Sovereignty March, according to the Web site of its sponsoring organization, the Virginia chapter of the Constitutional Sovereignty Alliance (formerly known as the Virginia Nullification Coalition), will be led by state legislators Scott Lingamfelter and Rich Anderson of the Virginia House of Delegates. As I sought information on the marchers and their allies, I clicked on a link to Freedom for US Now, listed on the Constitutional Sovereignty Alliance Web site as " Links/Partners & Friends (temp)". Clicking through the items labeled "New!", I came to one called " The Raping of America." There I found the cartoon shown at the top of this story.
The cartoon depicts a distraught and naked Statue of Liberty perched on the edge of a disheveled bed, her head in her hands. In the foreground, a bare-chested black man I presume to be a caricature of Barack Obama dons his his shirt, saying, "Oh, shut up and stop your whining. You gave all the consent I'll ever need in 2008. Get yourself cleaned up. I'll be back -- CapNTrade, Immigration, whatever. And I'll bring 'friends'."
That the House Minority Whip would "officially receive" a delegation that counts among its "Partners & Friends" a purveyor of the old racist trope about black men raping white women speaks to the expanding bounds of politically acceptable hate speech among right-wing politicians. Here, the black man is depicted as the president of the United States, and the white woman is none other than the Statue of Liberty. (Never mind that those "huddled masses" she welcomes are the very people the sovereignty crowd would like to lock out of America.)
The rising anti-American sentiment in Virginia would came to a head last week with the Confederate History Month proclamation issued by the governor that omitted any reference to slavery. (The public outcry that followed forced a walk-back by McDonnell, who reissued the proclamation with a contrite reference to slavery, but only after he claimed that its omission from the original proclamation was based on his judgment that slavery wasn't "significant" enough to Virginia to warrant inclusion in the document.)