Regarding Ron Maxwell’s discourse “The Fever,” I agree with him in large part concerning the bashing of monuments. It is an ugly business that inflames passions and produces little of substance. Nor would I question his application of Jesus’ words: “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” If I demand moral purity of my neighbor’s hero, I might find my own hero coming up short by the same yardstick. Although General Lee and company unquestionably fought to defend a monstrous evil, I would humbly beg all of Virginia’s citizens, especially African-Americans, to search their hearts for the generosity to say, like Jesus: “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.”
Now let’s talk politics. When Mr. Maxwell asserts that voting Republican is the antidote for the ignorance and extremism that currently gnaws at our body politic, well sir, I would call that a case of “the pot calling the kettle black.” Let us examine the villains whom the author dredges up from history and by some creative leap of the imagination links to the Democratic candidate for governor. Which whacky characters on today’s political landscape most closely resemble these club-wielding barbarians?
The Taliban? What party has embraced an intolerant fanatical religionist the likes of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama? The Cultural Revolution in China? What administration in American history has ever had the effrontery to gag the conclusions of its own scientists, as has the wrecking crew appointed by President Trump to “administer” the EPA? And the Jacobins? Please. When in living memory has a political hatchet-man like Stephen Bannon — a Robespierre from the lunatic fringe who now calls for moderates of both parties to be hauled under his guillotine — been embraced by the president himself.
Not since Joseph McCarthy (another Republican) has there been such a reign of terror in the halls of Congress. And please tell me, my Republican countrymen, who are these so-called “elites” for whose heads you clamor? Are they not the tens of thousands of hard-working men and women (many of them our Rappahannock neighbors) who get up every morning, grab their briefcases, and set out to govern a modern nation state of three hundred million people who are economically, culturally and religiously diverse? In the words of a Democrat: “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a carpenter to build one.”