I’ve often called myself a “Proud Virginian” – yet, for the first time I can recall, I cannot say that with honesty.
The events of the past 10 days or so are disastrous, casting a humiliating and shameful cloud across The Commonwealth in broad view of the world at large. And yet, the events and press coverage of the past 10 days or so are not indicative of “news” – no, rather, they are indicative of long-known and whispered hypocrisy by those who represent us and represent to the world a Virginia that is not true.
“Virginia”…once known for its roots as the first English colony and the “Mother of States,” given those states that evolved from her in the earliest days of our democracy.
“Virginia”…once known as the “Mother of Presidents” for her roots in the presidencies of Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Harrison, Tyler, Taylor, and Wilson.
And yet, today, she is known for mockery, disdain, and an inherent lack of leadership for the people by the very “leaders” the People elected to serve.
If true healing and unity were his priority, it would have already been on the top of the Governor’s list of most imperative objectives.
If truth and transparency were among his core values, the Attorney General would have foregone his criticism of the Governor – at least not without first making it part of his own admission and concession.
And, at some point, due process must be given and the costs of disruption and distrust must be reconciled. So may be my hope for her Lieutenant Governor and for all of The Commonwealth.
Not since 1865 has Richmond seen such scorched ruins of what was once viewed as future promise.
There was a time in this country when philosophies and priorities differed, but did not impede friendship, honor, and ability to compromise. Remember the example of the relationship enjoyed by Tip and the Gipper – a relationship that allowed business to be conducted with honor and compromise, perhaps with heated debate, but never at the expense of core friendship and understanding that they cultivated and gained over time. We must learn from our history.
And, by the way…when we erase past chapters of our history from our landscape, governmental buildings, and our places of learning, we lose the very opportunity to teach ALL of our history – the good and the bad. Some of those who held the erasers yesterday hold the very instruments today that will write our next chapters and reveal who we really are in these moments…and what we have or have not learned…and what we do or do not stand for. May they pause, consider, and step cautiously.
We should ask ourselves if we should continue to trust and follow those who have newly found passion for humanity, discovered in their own moment of self-preservation. Or, if we should demand better.
These are only partisan issues in that healing, improvement, and sensitivity are needed on both (all) sides. These issues pertain to what is right and best for all Virginians.
And so, to those who occupy her statehouse on the Legislative side of the equation…come together, as the Executive branch flounders. Honor your oath. The time for leadership is now.
And “leadership” is not synonymous with “partisanship.” The best way to start the healing is to reach across the aisle – perhaps even stepping beyond the aisle’s midpoint – and taking whatever steps necessary to ensure that, collectively, you represent the interests of all Virginians. Act on your inward reflection as much or more than you react to what you see across from you. Dare to dream.
The second section of Virginia’s constitution declares that all power is in her people and that her magistrates and officers are their trustees and servants, amenable to them. Wouldn’t that be grand?