The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Iconoclast and other thin skinned people struggle to understand Virginia’s enlightened political leadership!!!

Do Macacas, Muslims, Blacks and Jews have thin skins or maybe cause for concern?

Do the views of Allen, Goode and Hargrove set a good example for progressive leadership in the new century?

Freedom of speech applies to throwbacks too!

What do George Allen, Virgil Goode and now Frank Hargrove, Sr. have in common?

Probably they have any number of things in common including considerable success over the years as Virginia politicians. These three individuals have in the past been widely recognized as leaders, and yes, role models for all the rest of us to emulate.

Their words have taken on extra weight and significance owing to their perceived superior enlightenment. These are the “law makers” who, along with their colleagues in the most august chambers of the Virginia House of Delegates, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate, make the laws and policies by which all the rest of us live.

We the people apparently have trusted them, or at least, a majority of us have trusted them in the past.

But most recently these three role models have demonstrated a common trait of speaking their mind and expressing a certain “honesty” rarely seen in politicians. This "honesty" that has revealed some disturbing character issues.

With ex- Senator George Allen it was the Macaca comments back in August when his campaign for re-election to the United States Senate took a nose dive. First there were implausible explanations about not knowing what a “Macaca” was. Then there were general apologies. Then there were unseemly and unnecessary gaffs about “eating ham sandwiches” when referring to his Jewish connection.

With current 5th District Representative Virgil Good, it was the unexpected public revelation of his anti-Muslim rants in a letter to xenophobic constituents.

Again Representative Goode's comments were unnecessary but quite revealing of a disturbing lack of tolerance of religious and cultural diversity. Thus far, Congressman Goode is not backing down. There is no apology coming from him.

Now, it is Virginia Delegate Frank Hargrove, Sr. in his advise to black Virginians to “get over it” referring to the slavery thing. He also takes a swipe at Jewish people for “killing Christ.”

Macacas, Muslims, Jews and Blacks just don’t have a good sense of political reality or perhaps even a sense of humor according to these leading Virginia politicians.

What is this... a case of good men gone wild?

Probably not. These leaders say these things because they apparently believe with some justification that at least some of their constitutes expect such comments and positions.

Of course some of our readers might remember that Virginia's political leadership also at one time supported the practice of slavery right here in Virginia.

And much more recently, our political leadership supported the policy of massive resistance.

Thin skins? Maybe. But maybe not.

In closing, the Iconoclast would like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Ex-Senator Allen had a right to speak his mind and we are glad he did. That is why he is “ex” Senator Allen instead of second term Allen.

Also, Representative Goode had a right to express his fears of Muslims. This is a free country and he was just exercising his right of free speech even if it was speech advocating the curtailment rights of others to choose their own religious practices or to participate in the American political process. Apparently Representative Goode enjoys some support for these views and remains quite unapologetic if not oblivious to the hypocrisy of his views.

Delegate Hargrove also has a right to express his views that some of us Virginian’s have thin skins and should “get over” our common history. At least we know where he stands on the matter.

But one is prompted to wonder how the good Delegate can reconcile in his mind how it is OK for some Virginian’s to be “proud of their heritage” but it is not OK for other Virginian’s to have lingering grievances over that same “heritage.”

Just a little something to think about...

The Iconoclast hopes that Virginia politicians will keep exercising their rights to express their "honest" opinions on important issues. Sometimes we learn something important.

Freedom of speech! That is what makes American the great nation it is!


  • At 1/22/2007 6:55 PM, Blogger Vivian J. Paige said…

    But one is prompted to wonder how the good Delegate can reconcile in his mind how it is OK for some Virginian’s to be “proud of their heritage” but it is not OK for other Virginian’s to have lingering grievances over that same “heritage.”

    My point exactly :)

  • At 1/22/2007 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I completely understand the above statement and agree, however I also agree with the "Good Delegate". I do not feel that as a white American I owe anyone apologies for something that happened over 100 years in the past. One thing that puts us HUMANS above the animals in the food chain is our ability to learn from the past and MOVE ON! Should I be demanding an apology from our northern nieghbors for shooting my great great great grandfather in the leg and leaving him to die in a cow pasture??

  • At 1/22/2007 8:47 PM, Anonymous Ward Smythe said…

    Quite frankly, I think we need to recognize the heritage of both sides of this issue. The Confederacy as well as Slavery. And in doing so, maybe we can acknowledge once and for all that it wasn't just the southern white men that promoted, and profited from Slavery.

    That said, as long as we're pointing out who was responsible for Slavery, Jim Crow and Massive Resistance, just make sure that you note it was the Democrat Party. Between the early 1880s and 1970, there were no Republicans in power in Virginia.

    It's just important to keep that in mind.

  • At 1/22/2007 10:36 PM, Blogger zen said…

    Right, because what we've found to be so helpful, is pushing more divisions between us.

  • At 1/22/2007 11:16 PM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Great point Ward! You too Zen. There are two sides to this issue, at least two sides. It is a complicated issues no doubt.

    Concerning apologizing for the misdeeds of our ancestors (Anonymous comment), I am prompted to ask why not? If we understand why one can be proud of their ancestors, why is it so difficult to understand why someone else might not so proud of someone elses ancestors. An appology is nothing but acknowledging that we personally understand that the actions of someone else was wrong. No one says that an individual today has to assume total responsibility for some misdeed of the past.

    Besides, what does it really cost us to acknowledge that our ancestors may have made mistakes? Maybe a little pride.

    As I think we know, undue pride is a sin. We might all be a little better off recognizing that pride is the opposite side of the coin from humility. Humility is not such a bad thing.

    Now for the Democrat / Republican thing. This is another excelent point and one deserving some analysis. You are exactly right, Democrats were in charge of some now known dubious policies. Back in the days of slavery, Jim Crow and the Massive Resistance, Democrats were in charge and are rightfully to blame for some pretty bad stuff. In those days Republicans were the "liberals" and "progressives" of the time. That is why many people of slave ancestory love Abraham Lincoln to this very day.

    I am sure this will start a whole new argument about how Lincoln was not really so keen about freeing the slaves but did so for political purposes. That's cool. We can talk about that if anyone wants to.

    Anyway, the basic question is about the leadership positions taken by such important officials as ex-Senator Allen, Representative Goode and Delegate Hargrove. Is this leadership style really helpful?

    Everybody, thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  • At 1/24/2007 9:29 AM, Blogger Tom James (aka Brave Hart) said…


    I found out about this on Charlie Rose Monday night.

    It is about geneaological DNA research. Since the records of so many African Americans are missing or don't exist, this new research technique fills in the holes. One thing that has been brought to light is many people have DNA from white and black people. HMMM? How do we apologize to ourselves?

    The point being, no one's hands are clean. We are all humans. We are all Americans. Hopefully this new use of DNA will help highlight that and end this nonsense of racism.

    Lets make a resolution for that. Whereby, DNA proves we are all related!

    Imagine that?

  • At 1/24/2007 2:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Is it really too much to ask that our elected officials try to act with a little civility? That comment "get over it" is a well worn cliche' usually used by a immature high school kids and never offered with respect or good intentions. It is a "cute" way of telling others that you really don't care about their concerns.

    I guess some adults also find it easy to dismiss the concerns of others especially when they do not personally have to bear any of the harmful consequences. But it is troubling when the people who act so dismissively turn out to be our our civic leaders. What is that telling us about our leadership?

  • At 1/24/2007 10:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I find Ward's comments typical of the politically obsessed and overly dogmatic. Always trying to find an angle to prop up their team, when anyone with half a brain knows (as you point out will) that the two established political parties have changed and evolved so much over the past century/decades that attempting to draw conclusion today based on past behavior is moot, and quite silly.

  • At 1/25/2007 8:58 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Yes, quite silly. Thank you.

    It is interesting to note that when the founding fathers established this great nation there really was no formal provisions in the founding documents for political parties anyway. Some of our founding fathers were actually quite uncomfortable with the ideal of political parties.

    Over the decades and now centuries, political parties have formed, evolved and disbanned as the circumstances of the various eras would seem to have dictated. The issues and positions that Republican and Democratic parties take on them bear no resemblance at all to the issues and positions even 20 years ago, let alone 50 or 100 years ago. Party names are just that... party names. That is all. Neither Republicans nor Democrats should be presumed to have any advantge over the other in holding moral "high ground".

    So far as I can see, the only purpose political parties serve is to amass political power and to attempt to control it is some kind of unified way. This grand theory works sometimes. Sometimes it just creates "zombie" like political loyalties to party doctrine and leads good people who are elected to high offices to just check in their brains and independence at the door. This is not such a good thing.

    I guess I am rambling here but keep in mind that we are always looking for a "more perfect" way of governance.

    Sometimes good people make bad decisions. Yep, it happens.

  • At 1/30/2007 1:16 PM, Anonymous Dr. Mindgames said…

    The Richmond Times continues to print letters concerning the Hargrove comments. As we see, there are a good many defenders of Delegate Hargrove's right to say what he did.

    But these defenders may be missing the point. I don't think anyone really is questioning Delegate Hargrove's constitutional right to say what he wants to say. Unless and until free speech crosses the line to be a threat to public safety or becomes libelous, the constitutional right of free speech is without any practical limits. People are free to make stupid utterances, cruel remarks, and to pander to irrational fears. That is just a simple fact of life.

    The whole issue is not about free speech, it is about the judgement and examples demonstrated by public officials. And in this matter, Delegate Hargrove has effectively incited a significant rash of cheers from the peanut gallery revealing the sad fact that we have a long way to go before anybody really "gets over" this racial divide that still hangs as a dark cloud over our society.

    Sometimes, it is not what the politicians say that worries me. It is how the public reacts to what they say that worries me.

  • At 1/31/2007 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Have you noticed that some of Hargrove's supporters talk about wasting time on something that is just symbolic that being the apology for slavery when there is "real business" at hand requiring the serious attention of our busy lawmakers.

    What a joke!

    These clowns have plenty of time to pass scores if not hundreds of trivial resolutions every session as favors to constituents honoring birthdays and whatnot.

    To suggest that an apology for slavery does not rise to a level of importance sufficient to justify the investment of lawmakers time but a resolution honoring a record breaking water mellon in Halifax County DOES JUSTIFY THE TIME just shows the absurdity of the argument.

    Of course, the resolution honoring a record breaking water mellon in Halifax County is just a hypothetical example but I have seen the General Assembly waste their time on even more ridiculous things.

    Our General Assembly is perfectly capable of wasting time on many things. So lets be honest. It is not about wasting time is it?

  • At 2/02/2007 6:51 PM, Anonymous Traffic Jam Guy in NOVA said…

    What about transportation here in NOVA? Indecision is causing some very serious problems. Let the General Assembly deal with resolutions honoring ground hogs day or whatever for all I care but let the important issues be handled by those of us who face the problems up close and personal.

  • At 2/02/2007 9:07 PM, Anonymous Momma G. said…

    The individual who, a few days ago said that we humans are above the animals in the food chain because of our ability to MOVE ON and complained about yankees shooting his/her great grandfather in the leg is just amazing.

    Why doesn't he/she just "move on"?

    I get his/her drift. He/she has a problem with history. I understand his/her pain. And, you know what? I forgive him/her. We probably shouldn't be judging what hurt other people feel.

  • At 5/24/2007 11:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    US President Tim Kalemkarian, US Senate Tim Kalemkarian, US House Tim Kalemkarian: best major candidate.

  • At 11/29/2011 4:11 AM, Blogger zeeshan said…



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