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It’s just possible that you’ve heard the big news about the Virginia election. If not, I refer you to several excellent posts here, scads of Internet “newsprint,” and hours and hours of coverage yet to come on cable. This isn’t about that. It’s about three small counties in Virginia, not really deep south Virginia, but not exactly the northern part either. In each of these counties, the removal/relocation of Confederate monuments was on the ballot. People were allowed to vote about whether these monuments should be consigned to the proverbial dustbin, and those monuments were not subject to the decisions of a few people politically in charge of the areas.
I’m not the greatest at interspersing media with the printed word on this site, so bear with me while I do my best.
This picturesque scene is Middlesex County, Virginia, near the waters in the East (the Middle Peninsula) and about the same latitude as Richmond. The monument was erected in 1910 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Removal (as opposed to “relocation”) was on the ballot. Seventy-five percent of the voters said “No.”
This is Mathews County, Virginia, relatively close to the above-mentioned Middlesex County. The monument was erected in 1912 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in honor of the county’s fallen soldiers and sailors. Here, the ballot initiative was to “relocate” the monument. Eighty percent of the voters said, “Let’s not do that.”
Nottoway County is southwest of Richmond and is notable for the presence of Fort Pickett. I’d assume that we all know for whom that was named, but the National Guard installation is undergoing a name change following a congressional directive to erase history. The monument itself was erected in 1893 by the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Nottoway in front of the courthouse and bears the names of local Confederate dead. The initiative to “relocate” it was defeated, with 68% opposed.
There’s a lot going on in elections. Some things we hear much about, some we don’t. Hopefully, this highlights some of the latter and underscores the fact that very local issues should be decided by very local people.Published in