Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail

Published 11:55 am Saturday, June 13, 2020

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Regrettably, when someone lacks a strong belief in values, they tend to flap this way and that like a flag in a breeze. This is sometimes referred to as lacking a moral compass. It is not a compliment.

Most of us in my generation were taught at home and at church that we should have a set of values that we will stand with regardless of what is happening around us. This is exactly why it has been so depressing to have the governor and the mayor of Richmond say that the values of Robert E. Lee are no longer relevant today.

One can make an argument that you disagree with his role as the military leader of the Confederacy. However, as with all people, we are a sum of our parts. Lee’s role during the Civil War should not over shadow that he was such a good military leader that he was requested to lead the Union army. Nor should his role in the Civil War cause one to overlook his role as an educator that taught a generation of young men. Likewise, he was a man of faith. He was noted for his willingness to take communion with a former slave when others were not.

Unlike our current governor, he was a man of strong moral strength who did not flap in the breeze. He was known for respecting others. Our current governor often brags about his career choice of pediatric medicine, but at the same time is publicly comfortably bragging about his support of infanticide of defenseless newborns.


The same wavering in the wind could be found when he made the decision to remove National Guard troops from Washington D.C. because he disagreed with the president. Never mind that the troops were there to protect national landmarks as well as private property as businesses were destroyed by looters and rioters, and a church was set on fire. He did this knowing that business owners come in all stripes, shapes, and shades. It made no difference all needed protection. His greater concern was piling on the president after a misreported story.

He, as well as other governors and mayors, chose to ignore the safety of their citizens just to be on the politically correct side of the current debate. They profess to mourn the horrible situation in Minneapolis while ignoring the death of the retired police officer that was slain in St. Louis. One need only go no farther than downtown Broad Street in Richmond to see the livelihood of good people as shattered as the glass on the sidewalk to understand that we must differentiate between demonstrations and riots and looting.


I stand with my caucus with this statement:

“Like all Virginians, we were outraged and deeply saddened by the murder of George Floyd. His brutal and senseless death has shocked the entire nation. We renew our commitment to ensuring our criminal justice system is fair to all, providing protections to everyone from the unnecessary use of force which ended Mr. Floyd’s life.

Virginia’s law enforcement professionals place themselves in harm’s way every day, ensuring our neighborhoods, homes, businesses, and streets are safe for all. They have earned and deserve the support of all Virginians, and they most certainly have ours. During these challenging days, they have protected the First Amendment rights of those protesting and strived to prevent escalations that result in the loss of life and property. In our experience, Virginia’s law enforcement professionals are committed to preventing any who employ excessive force from remaining in their ranks, and we support them and stand ready to assist them in those efforts.

The governor’s decision to remove the Lee statue from Monument Avenue is not in the best interests of Virginia. Attempts to eradicate instead of contextualizing history invariably fail. And because of this governor’s personal history, the motivations of this decision will always be suspect.

We remain committed to a Virginia that offers opportunity for all, one where racism and bigotry are not tolerated. We stand ready to work on behalf of all Virginians in achieving that ideal.”

Frank Ruff Jr. represents Charlotte in the state Senate. His email address is