When you’re in the middle of a storm that shakes the house and rattles the roof and you actually think that you might not make it through, all you want is a way out! You long for the calm that usually comes after the storm. Currently, the Commonwealth of Virginia is at the center of the national and international news cycles with no end in sight. The top tier leadership team of our State Government is embroiled in major controversy that includes past acts of racism and subsequent acts of racial insensitivity and accusations of sexual assault and rape. It should be noted that the women making the accusations, according to some sources, previously reported the assault to friends and some in the Democratic Party leadership of the state. What do we do now amid such disappointment, disillusionment and pain? There have been many calls for all of these men to step aside as a remedy, but the question then becomes what happens after that? Will that alleviate the painful recognition that the people of Virginia overwhelmingly elected into office individuals of questionable character and in one case, possible criminal behavior?
These men now hold the top offices of our state government and should they all step aside, the result of the democratic electoral process will be made null and void and another process would soon take over. Is that what the people of Virginia want to happen? It would be the momentary resolution of one problem or set of problems in order to replace those “problems” with what? —With Who? And is the next individual, or individuals, going to be any better than the ones that have been replaced? We don’t know. But, what we do know is that our Commonwealth was the Capitol of the Confederacy, a state where the remnants of that historic truth live all around us every single day. The monuments to the “heroes” of the Confederate cause, the Generals of the War against “Northern Aggression” line avenues, highways, city centers and college campuses all around the Commonwealth of Virginia. The painful legacy of Chattel Slavery, Jim Crow, segregation and the domestic terrorism of the Ku Klux Klan and White Citizens Council live in the soil of this state. There are many skeletons in the closets, attic spaces and “collections” of the people who have lived here for generations.
Where do we as Virginians turn to get out of this great storm that has come upon us? There is no place to run, no place to hide and we cannot continue to postpone the inevitable reckoning that MUST be had in America. It is the historic legacy of racism and white supremacist ideology that built America on stolen lands, broken treaties and on the backs of enslaved African people. Virginia is at the epicenter of this nation’s great shame and the guilt that shame engenders amongst the so-called “good white folks” or well-intentioned white folks of this great state and upon the citizenry of an America that is yet to fully achieve the “greatness” of her promise. The institution of Slavery built the generational wealth of Virginia and this nation. There is no circumventing that truth. We cannot close our eyes and wish this storm away. It cannot be simply “removed” by resignation(s). The white-hot light of comeuppance is upon us and the only way out is THROUGH. It is Time to Face our past and work towards the process of confession, repentance and conciliation, so that perhaps we can build a future together. The whole world is watching Virginia right now!