... but I got sidetracked. Tomorrow's going to be a slow day over here at Snapped Shot, as I'm going to be in for some minor dental surgery, so I'll leave you with this to ponder.
On the 2nd of September, Governor Tim Kaine pardoned a figure in Virginia history, which caused Jim Bacon to swoon about how we've somehow entered a "new" era in the Commonwealth. Jim's basic point, if he doesn't mind me selectively blockquoting:
Who, you may ask, is (or was) Gabriel Prosser? He was the leader of an aborted slave rebellion who was hanged, along with 34 other slaves, in 1800. "Gabriel's Rebellion" is well known to students of African-American resistance to the institution of chattel slavery... In restoring Prosser's "good name," Kaine noted that he was motivated by the rebel's "devotion to the ideals of the American revolution." Said Kaine: "It was worth risking death to secure liberty. ... History favorably regards Gabriel's cause while consigning legions who sought to keep him and others in chains to be forgotten."
In drawing celebratory parallels between the American fight for independence and Prosser's fight for "freedom," I think Tim and Jim neglect to consider one thing. Allow me to highlight:
The 25-year-old slave, inspired by Biblical stories of the Jews' flight from slavery in Egypt and the teachings of the American Revolution, organized an uprising by thousands of slaves. His plan: to massacre all whites (excepting Methodists, Quakers and Frenchmen) and to install himself as king of a new nation.
I must have missed the part where George Mason declared that, in order to "free" Virginians from the yoke of English oppression, he would slay every last citizen
of the kingdom of England, who our Dominion owed its allegiance to at the time. Or where General Washington insisted that he would install himself as the new monarch
when the blood of the English had been shed.
We certainly have entered a new era in our Commonwealth's history, but I'm afraid it's not quite as bright and cheerful as the honourable Mr. Bacon implies. We've come to a point in our history where we placate fools
with empty pardons and apologies for events which are—by the very nature of the fact that they are history
—totally unchangeable. Furthermore, we've exchanged the "honest broker" of morality for the "convenient mistress" of political expedience:—By ignoring the fact that Gabriel insisted on murdering others
in order to appease certain political elements, we are resigning ourselves to misreading the past by whatever present politics we may desire to placate.
I hang my head in shame, if this is the "brave new world" in which we want
to live in.
(I eagerly look forward to hearing what y'all think
about this case whenever my meds wear off tomorrow!)