Move over, Virgil Goode! You have just been ousted from your position as the most racist, bigoted, hateful Rethuglican politician in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The new holder of the title is state delegate Frank D. Hargrove, of Hanover County. Here’s what our local rag, the Daily Progress (known to its more dyspeptic readers as “the Regress”), has to say about Del. Hargrove’s deeply offensive behavior:
RICHMOND — A Hanover County delegate’s comments that Virginia’s black residents should “get over” slavery and discussing whether Jews might “apologize for killing Christ” drew angry and emotional rebukes Tuesday on the floor of the House of Delegates.
Del. Frank D. Hargrove, R-Glen Allen, responded to a tearful Jewish delegate from Alexandria whose ancestors came to America from Nazi-occupied Poland by telling him, “I think your skin was a little too thin.”
Stunned delegates gasped as Hargrove responded with two comments about “thin skin” to his seatmate, Del. David L. Englin, D-Alexandria, who had spoken moments earlier about his family having been “driven from their homes by people who believed that as Jews, we killed Christ.”
No wonder they gasped. Mr. Hargrove has dared to utter one of those sentiments which simply cannot be said. It just isn’t done. I’d say that his political career is in jeopardy, but, since he’s seventy-nine years old, that may not be of great concern to him.
The Coalition of the Easily Offended was quick to get to the microphones:
“It’s an inflammatory statement that causes a lot of pain to a lot of people,” Englin said. He then held up a picture of his 7-year-old son, Caleb, and said that Hargrove “means no harm [but false statements such as that] mean that my 7-year-old son is that much more likely to be verbally attacked, to be physically attacked.”
Ah, yes, the children. The poor wee bairns, how that awful man has hurt them!
– – – – – – – – – –
Del. Dwight C. Jones, D-Richmond and chairman of the Black Legislative Caucus, called Hargrove’s comment that black Virginians should get over slavery “an absolute offense.”
“When somebody tells me that I should get over slavery, I can only express my emotions by saying I am appalled, absolutely appalled, that someone would take the worst institution that has ever faced Americans and tell the [descendants] of those individuals that they should just get over it,” Jones told fellow delegates.
What brought this topic to the fore? How did a distinguished Virginia politician get himself into such hot water?
It seems that there’s a move afoot in Virginia to apologize for slavery:
Hargrove, a 79-year-old veteran of the House since 1982, had said in the interview published Tuesday that he opposed a resolution apologizing on behalf of the state to the descendants of slaves because “the present commonwealth has nothing to do with slavery.”
An eminently sensible remark; nothing offensive there.
Bill Clinton is the undisputed master of apologizing for something he didn’t do to people who were not harmed by the offense. It was a cost-free publicity stunt for him, and had no downside. The fact that it made no sense was no impediment to his teary photo-ops.
But Mr. Hargrove is cut from a different cloth. He not only offended the gods of PC, he went and got himself a twofer:
Hargrove said in the interview that slavery ended with the Civil War and added, “I personally think that our black citizens should get over it.” He also asked how far back apologies should go and wondered, “Are we going to force the Jews to apologize for killing Christ?”
Blacks and Jews in one go! He should have brought up Little Big Horn and the Indians, plus the Alamo and the Mexicans. Then he could have offended four Official Designated Victim Groups at once.
And his lily-livered gonad-impaired Republican colleagues displayed their accustomed courage in the face of such controversy:
Republicans later declined to defend Hargrove’s comments but insisted he meant no harm.
“I know he didn’t mean offense, but I can see how people would be offended,” said House GOP Leader H. Morgan Griffith of Salem. “The general gist of Frank’s comments is he certainly didn’t mean any offense to his seatmate, whom he likes.”
Griffith called the issue of an apology for slavery “a difficult issue. … I can’t say it’s a clear-cut, easily decided issue.”
When you join the Republican Party, they give you a welcome basket containing a red-white-and-blue top hat, an elephant lapel pin, and a bag of meal for your mouth.
This was as far as the state GOP would go:
Keith Drake, chairman of the Albemarle County Republican Committee, issued a statement Tuesday saying a resolution expressing appreciation “to recognize the significant contributions of slaves” would be more appropriate and positive.
Because no slaves or slaveholders are alive, “it is unclear who is apologizing to whom,” Drake said. He said the Marsh and McEachin resolution “serves no useful purpose. It merely opens old wounds.”
Mr. Drake has stated the problem in a nutshell: “Who is apologizing to whom?”
I have two grand-nephews of mixed racial ancestry. Their great-great-great-great-grandfather owned slaves. Their great-great-something-grandfather was a slave. What do they do, apologize to each other?
As a matter of fact, my great-great-grandfather returned from the Recent Unpleasantness to find his plantation in Southside Virginia burned out by the Yankees. Don’t New York and Maryland owe me an apology?
How far back can these ethnic and sectional grievances be extended?
Chinese-Americans deserve an apology for their virtual enslavement in our Western territories during the late 19th century. But you don’t hear much about it — do you think they’ve “gotten over it”?
On the one hand, the Serbs haven’t forgotten their defeat at the hands of the Turks at the Battle of Kosovo in 1389. And the Arabs still pine for Al-Andalus — known to its current inhabitants as España — from which they were driven in 1492.
On the other hand, Denmark seems to have recovered from the loss of Skåne to Sweden in 1658. Alsace-Lorraine is no longer a major bone of contention between Germany and France.
So what’s the statute of limitations on such things?
I think the Hittites have a good case for reparations against the Egyptians and the Assyrians for all the atrocities committed during the 13th century B.C. And don’t you think the Welsh should demand the return of Londinium from the Anglo-Saxons?
Take a look at the Imperial History animation at Maps of War. How many more ethnic grievances can be extracted from all that conquest and slaughter?
Every existing human culture lives on land taken by their ancestors from another culture. And, with the possible exception of the Australian Aborigines, all the supplanted peoples had in turn taken the land from their predecessors.
Probably more than half of the world’s ethnic groups were enslaved by some other ethnic group (usually the Arabs) at one time or another.
This grievance process can be continued ad infinitum. Everybody is owed an apology by somebody else.
So let’s just keep fanning the flames of resentment. There’s plenty of fuel there, and lots of tinder.
A good racial bonfire is just what everybody needs.