The news that Virginia's new Republican governor, Bob McDonnell, has renewed a tradition that his two Democratic predecessors ignored — declaring April to be "Confederate History Month" in the commonwealth — has stirred controversy.
He says, though, that his goal is to draw attention to a key part of Virginia's history.
McDonnell, the Richmond Times-Dispatch writes, "is coming under fire from critics who are calling the proclamation 'offensive' and a 'disturbing revision of the Civil War and the brutal era that followed'."
King Salim Khalfani, executive director of the Virginia State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said Tuesday that McDonnell is "extolling the Confederacy by naming this Confederate History Month," the newspaper says.
The governor's position? As Michael Pope reports for Washington's WAMU, the governor says he's taken the action because he believes "simply as a point of history — to study the history of the Confederacy — was something that should be done." And, McDonnell says the proclamation may help promote Virginia's many historical sites related to the Civil War, saying "we've got more Civil War battlefields and Confederate cemeteries in Virginia than in any other state":
Va. Gov. Draws Ire For 'Confederate History Month'
As Frank previously noted, the governor's proclamation does not mention slavery. The Times-Dispatch says that:
"Asked yesterday why his proclamation did not mention slavery, McDonnell said that he was not 'focused' on that part of the state's past. He said people can learn more about Civil War history in Virginia and pointed to next year's sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War."
Update at 9:30 a.m. ET. And let's ask the question a different way to see if it generates any different results: