Photo: Steve Helber (Associated Press)

For the second year in a row, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax left the dais in silent protest while Virginia state senators honored Confederate superhero Gen. Robert E. Lee.

What makes Lee a superhero?

  • He ardently “defended a system of human bondage in which more than three million souls were denied the most basic liberties”. 
  • He was a well-documented traitor and terrorist, who just so happened to be  the single greatest enemy of President Abraham Lincoln.
  • He’s responsible for more American deaths than any foreign or domestic enemy in our entire collective past, including Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden combined.
  • He was an unapologetic white supremacist.
  • He’s a white male.

So why is it he’s being celebrated again?

“I rise today to celebrate the 212th birthday of Robert E. Lee,” Sen. Richard Stuart fixed his mouth to mutter on Friday. “I rise to celebrate his birthday because he was a great Virginian and a great American, and not because it has anything to do with slavery.” 

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Wait, what?

“I celebrate Lee on his birthday because he was a man with the strength of his convictions,” Stuart continued. “And that is a rare trait, either in yesteryear or today.”

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Yeah, I would’ve dipped out too.

And Fairfax, only the second African-American elected to statewide office in Virginia, did exactly that prior to this bullshit monologue. He was replaced by Sen. Steve Newman, who I presume greets Fairfax by following up “What’s up, dawg?!” with “I don’t know the proper term to call you.”

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While dismayed by their decision to continue to honor racist ass racist Robert E. Lee, Fairfax is anything but surprised. But he makes it a point to note that he wanted to maintain a proper level of decorum, even in protest.

“Particularly in this year, which is obviously the 400-year commemoration of the first enslaved Africans being brought to Virginia, in Hampton and Point Comfort, I think it stings a lot of people in particular in a year like this,” he said. “To constantly look backwards to a very divisive time and conscript people into honoring someone who — had he prevailed and gotten his way I would not be standing up there on that dais as lieutenant governor of Virginia — I think is something that we should not be doing.”

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Agreed. And expect much of the same from Fairfax next year.