So, we need to have a serious conversation about how Virginia might take the cake for most racist state in the union. For the first time in over 100 years, the state won’t celebrate Lee-Jackson day, and yes, the holiday is related to the Confederacy.
According to CNN, the holiday is named after Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, two Confederate generals who are celebrated as “defenders of the causes.” Somehow, the racist holiday managed to be even more racist given that it was celebrated the Friday before Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The cancellation comes after state lawmakers passed a bill last February that made Election Day a state holiday by swapping it for Lee-Jackson Day. “We need to make Election Day a holiday,” Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said last year. “We can do it by ending the Lee-Jackson holiday that Virginia holds ... It commemorates a lost cause. It’s time to move on.”
Of course, defenders of the holiday argued against its cancellation with the age old “it’s part of our heritage” excuse. Maybe I’m just weird, but if my heritage involved committing treason against a country I claimed to love, I’d be a bit less celebratory about it.
I mean, it’s like arguing that Next Friday is an essential part of the Friday canon. The fact it exists doesn’t mean that it was good or anything worth celebrating. (Friday After Next is still a Christmas classic though, just to be clear.)
Despite the holiday no longer being officially recognized, the city of Lexington, Va., still plans to hold events celebrating Lee-Jackson Day. The website encourages people to wave their Confederate flags as “many people will be downtown displaying Confederate Flags in support of our history.” Lest you think that this isn’t political and is just people “celebrating their heritage,” the site also mentions that “Black Confederate’s grave’s[sic] that are the last monuments to the past for the Left to desecrate.” (Never mind that Black Confederate soldiers don’t exist.)
The most absurd part, though, is that the event plans to explore “the lasting impact Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson had on the local African-American community.”
Nigga. Whoever came up with that idea deserves a gold medal in mental gymnastics, because holy shit. “Sure, they fought to keep the institution of slavery, but like, they also had some positive outreach in the Black community.”
The whites truly stay at it, goddamn.
The reckoning that followed the death of George Floyd last year has placed a spotlight on Virginia’s prolonged love affair with the Confederacy. The Virginia Military Institute has been under fire for its history of celebrating the Confederacy and the racist conditions its Black students have faced. Last month, Virginia finally removed a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee from the U.S. Capitol after over 100 years, but that didn’t stop multiple Virginia citizens from participating in the insurrection that took place on the Capitol last week.