In Richmond, Lynchburg legislator learns to beware of what you ask for
February 2, 2020 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Why would a legislator file a bill to do something he doesn’t want done? Del. Wendell Walker, R-Lynchburg. introduced a bill to remove a statue of Harry F. Byrd from Capitol Square. Not because of the former governor and senator's part in history supporting segregation, but as retaliation for Gov. Northam's support for VA cities to have the power to remove confederate statues around the state. After all Byrd was a Democrat. To Walker's surprise- his democratic colleagues are looking forward to removing the statue of one of Virginia's most racist sons. He is trying to withdraw the bill- the rules committee has denied his request.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis (45 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
 
h/t Chris24 and Octothorpe
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 7:17 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I abhor ad-hominem attacks generally, but good grief Wendell is the new king of self-owning.
posted by hilberseimer at 7:21 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


This is an excellent example of how the GOP is so used to doing everything in bad faith that they assume that's how everyone else is acting too. They assume nobody is actually serious about their reasons for removing these statues, and that the Democrats are only interested because it hurts Republicans -- because hurting Democrats, regardless of whether it helps Republicans, is the impetus behind most Republican choices.

For a group that will literally claim to believe anything (even multiple contradictory things) if they think there's political benefit in the moment to do so, the idea that anyone has genuinely held beliefs is incomprehensible.
posted by tocts at 7:22 AM on February 2 [165 favorites]


Wouldn’t that just make “hurting liberals/Democrats” and “holding on to power” their actual genuinely held beliefs?

It’s not that they don’t comprehend the idea of genuinely held beliefs; it’s that they don’t comprehend the idea that such beliefs can be rooted in anything other than greed, malice, or vindictiveness. You could say it’s the difference between being amoral and immoral.
posted by mystyk at 7:37 AM on February 2 [16 favorites]


I think this calls for a bill, Wendell Walker day! On that day, we’ll celebrate the ways in which examining our history and uncovering long-hidden truths strengthens us as a nation! Perhaps we can move this statue and others like it to a new park, Walker Park!

His Wikipedia page has not yet been updated.
posted by amanda at 7:58 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


can we add the AhHaHa tag
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:01 AM on February 2 [14 favorites]


If ever there was a need for a real-life Nelson to Ha-ha at someone, that time is now. We got screwed by the deities on that one.
posted by drivingmenuts at 8:21 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Kindly insert a twenty-five cent piece into thy posterior

[joseph_ducreux.jpg]

For thou hast played thyself
posted by tonycpsu at 8:22 AM on February 2 [26 favorites]


Psych!
posted by heatherlogan at 8:25 AM on February 2


That dude definitely came out of the same clone vat that brought us Mike Pence.
posted by Etrigan at 8:26 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


This is an amazing example of assuming that everyone else operates in bad faith because you do.
posted by PennD at 8:41 AM on February 2 [9 favorites]


Hot damn this is hilarious. In addition to the stuff everyone else has mentioned, it's almost as if Democrats... UNDERSTAND that parties have shifted over time and today's Dems don't share the beliefs of many historical Democrats, making "DeMOcRaTs SUpPoRTed sLAveRy!!!!!" not the slam-dunk right-wingers seem to think it is.
posted by sunset in snow country at 8:51 AM on February 2 [32 favorites]


This reminds me of the time in elementary school when the teachers laid down the law that you were NOT allowed to destroy the other kids' forts. So the bully kids snuck out and... built an extension to our fort, and then thought we were owned, because we could not tear down their add-on.

We thanked them for their help.
posted by BungaDunga at 8:59 AM on February 2 [39 favorites]


"his democratic colleagues" should be "his Democratic colleagues"
posted by davebarnes at 9:15 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


In elementary school we destroyed our own snow fort so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands.
posted by ovvl at 9:16 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


Heh. Dude couldn't see past his own blind fealty to party to understand the issue at hand was a moral one, not a political one. Got what he deserved. Sadly, I doubt he'll ever understand.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:24 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


For his next feat, Walker should file a bill to rename Lynchburg as Humanrightsburg. Because WTAF?
posted by heatherlogan at 9:27 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Lynchburg is named after its founder, John Lynch.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 9:43 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


because hurting Democrats, regardless of whether it helps Republicans, is the impetus behind most Republican choices.

and

Wouldn’t that just make “hurting liberals/Democrats” and “holding on to power” their actual genuinely held beliefs?

Yes, it's called Cleek's Law.
posted by NoMich at 9:46 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


Is Del. Wendell Walker, R-Lynchburg the subject of a New Yorker cartoon? Because Christ, what an asshole.
posted by fedward at 10:12 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


"his democratic colleagues" should be "his Democratic colleagues"

After the impeachment sham trial, I think it’s probably fine to imply Republicans are not democratic
posted by Merus at 10:21 AM on February 2 [19 favorites]


"his democratic colleagues" should be "his Democratic colleagues"

Let's be real, it's pretty fair to draw a distinction between the GOP and those who operate on democratic principles, regardless of party affiliation.

On preview, jinx Merus
posted by solotoro at 10:22 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Suprisingly, this may indeed Wendell.
posted by a halcyon day at 10:32 AM on February 2 [22 favorites]


Not that I don't think that Humanrightsburg would be a better name, but Lynchburg, Virginia, was named for one of its early settlers, John Lynch, in 1786, several decades before the term "lynching" (note: link includes disturbing and graphic photos of lynching victims) came to mean murder by a mob, usually (in the American South) as a tactic of white supremacist terrorism.

In case you (quite understandably) don't want to click through to the Wikipedia page with photos of lynching victims, I'll summarize briefly. While the origins of the term "lynching" are apparently somewhat debated, it seems to derive from "Lynch's law," a concept invented by one or both of two other men named Lynch in Virginia to justify claiming judicial authority during the Revolutionary War. In particular, Charles Lynch, a Virginia Quaker, imprisoned British loyalists during the war despite not having legal authority to do so. After the war, he prevailed upon the new US government to retroactively endorse his actions. Although it doesn't seem there's any evidence that Charles Lynch ever used capital punishment (or vigilante murder) under "Lynch's law," during later decades the term was used as a precedent for individuals (or mobs) assuming for themselves the legal right to kill those the government would not. As "lynching," it seems to have been from the beginning a tool of racial violence, targeting primarily free blacks and white abolitionists, with incidences of lynchings increasing dramatically after the Civil War. According to the Tuskegee Institute, between 1882 and 1968, about 3500 black Americans and 1300 white Americans were lynched, but it was also employed as a tool of white supremacist terrorism towards Mexicans in the Southwest and Chinese immigrants in California.

This is, of course, a bit off-topic from the FPP, but Wendell Walker and other Virginia Republicans are clearly interested in whitewashing history by simultaneously arguing that the Confederacy wasn't created to protect its ability to enslave people, and that because many of those defending segregation and Jim Crow were Democrats (prior to the Republican's Southern strategy and the consequent political realignment, of course) it's actually the Democrats who are bad on race. Therefore it's good to be attentive to the realities of that history. Lynchburg wasn't named for lynching, nor was lynching named for Lynchburg or John Lynch. But many branches of the Lynch family were normal, prosperous, White Virginians around the time both Lynchburg was founded and Lynch's law was introduced into the popular discourse. It was exactly the same sort of normal, prosperous, White Virginians (and citizens of other states) who would invent the concept of lynching to let themselves murder other human beings while feeling justified, even righteous; who would start a war to defend their ability to enslave and own human beings; who would spend decades engaged in a guerilla terrorist campaign to keep black Americans politically disenfranchised and socially oppressed; who would reinvent their murderous slaver forebears as heroic freedom fighters and erect statues of them all over the country to remind everyone what they would do to anyone who dared resist them; who would then claim that the statues and symbols of treason and terrorism were not hatred but heritage, unrelated to a distant dark past of lynchings and enslavement, which is best now forgotten as ancient history.

Wendell Walker and the others defending the preservation of statues of traitors and bigots in places of honor in the public square are ironically calling for us to remember our history while asking us to forget the reality of that history. He though that asking for the removal of a statue of a bigot who happened to belong to the Democratic Party was a slam dunk gotcha, because he has absolutely no sense of the reality of that history and how it still resonates in the present. He is a normal, prosperous, White Virginian.
posted by biogeo at 10:52 AM on February 2 [51 favorites]


This is a textbook case for making reverse psychology work for humanity. For his next trick, the Honorable Governor Northam will hold his breath for an extended period of time.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 11:18 AM on February 2 [4 favorites]


"To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. - Titus 1:15"
posted by Scattercat at 11:26 AM on February 2 [14 favorites]



For his next feat, Walker should file a bill to rename Lynchburg as Humanrightsburg. Because WTAF?


Lynchburg is named after its founder, John Lynch.

Uh yeah... you thought the town was actually named after the act of lynching people?
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:43 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Liquidwolf, I've encountered a number of people in the past who assume that. Given American history, it's not a crazy thing to think.
posted by biogeo at 11:52 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


It's been well covered here already, but what a marvelous example of how much the right wing believes their own bullshit. He really thought that Democrats would object just because this dude was a Democrat. Just... wow. I hope it passes.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:16 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


This is exactly how women's rights were added to federal civil rights law!
posted by schwinggg! at 1:05 PM on February 2 [25 favorites]


In elementary school we destroyed our own snow fort so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands.

"We had to destroy the snow fort in order to save it".
posted by gtrwolf at 1:10 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


Biogeo this comment is amazing and flagged as fantastic thank you.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 1:22 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


As The Mefite Formerly Known As Wendell (TMFKAW), this totally justifies my decision to drop "Wendell" as my nom du blog. This did Wendell.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:29 PM on February 2 [16 favorites]


Charles and John Lynch were brothers, though, so these things aren't entirely unrelated.
posted by naoko at 1:55 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


I lived in Lynchburg for many years, and by the grace of God, may someday live there again. People ask all the time about the name and the act of lynching. All. The. Time.

However, John Lynch the ferryman did have a brother who may be involved with the coining of that term which later came to be synonymous with racial terror and murder.
posted by os tuberoes at 2:00 PM on February 2 [8 favorites]


Trolls gonna get owned...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 3:24 PM on February 2


I recall that a bad-faith amendment whose motivation was "surely they won't go this far" is how protections against gender discrimination were added to the 1960s Civil Rights Bill, but I have to look up the details every time.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:39 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


However, John Lynch the ferryman

Please tell me there's a Chris de Burgh connection in there somewhere.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 3:57 PM on February 2 [5 favorites]


I recall that a bad-faith amendment whose motivation was "surely they won't go this far" is how protections against gender discrimination were added to the 1960s Civil Rights Bill, but I have to look up the details every time.

Kinda. It's complicated. There were a lot of racist white women who were legitimately aghast that they would have fewer protections than black women, and lobbied for its inclusion based on that reasoning.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:11 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Will Del. Walker have to bring his own petard with him to the Rules Committee hearing?
posted by Ignorantsavage at 4:53 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


Oh, I think he done already hoisted hisself with that there petard and he knows it. Any more petarding would just be icing on the cake.
posted by drivingmenuts at 8:02 PM on February 2


This can pass for a heartwarming story about reaching across the aisle to make the country a better place in this era.
posted by Selena777 at 7:12 AM on February 3 [4 favorites]


May god grant me more such enemies.
posted by nothing.especially.clever at 4:09 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


As someone whose real last name is Lynch, I appreciate the side discussions here very much too.
posted by Occula at 4:24 PM on February 3


Will Del. Walker have to bring his own petard with him to the Rules Committee hearing?

Given a petard is an explosive ordinance and this is the South we're talking about, I'm sure someone there will have something suitable on hand
posted by Merus at 6:36 PM on February 4 [1 favorite]


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