Commentary: Truth about Gillespie, Confederate monuments

Lately, in the GOP primary contest, there has been a major hoax that is being played on the voters of the Shenandoah Valley. The hoax is that Ed Gillespie supports removal of the Confederate monuments. Therefore that Gillespie must be a major shill of big government and political correctness. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Ed has been all of his life a supporter of Confederate monuments and the place that Confederate heroes hold in Virginia history. Ed understands that to remove the statue of Robert E. Lee at the University of Virginia is only the beginning. That once the statue of Lee is gone, the Politically Correct Thought Police will not stop until George Washington and Thomas Jefferson have been removed from our history as well.

However Ed, unlike his opponents, understands there is a bigger picture, and that bigger picture is who should have the say in local affairs such as monuments – the city of Richmond or each locality. Ed believes, in line with most small government thinkers such as myself, that local affairs are best handled at the local level. And the more laws that are enacted and passed in Richmond, the less freedom each of the localities will have.

A few years back, one of the local counties in Virginia’s Northern Neck needed state permission to make it illegal for people to have pet alligators. Why should the state be telling a local government whether or not it can ban someone having a dangerous pet. I want my issues to be handled at the local, county or city or town level as much as possible. And while it is tempting to want a state law that would ban the removal of statues of Virginia heroes, the fact is that we don’t need more laws coming from Richmond. To the contrary, we need fewer and fewer laws coming from Richmond.

One of the reasons Ed is running for governor is to remove burdensome regulations so that our industry can take off and we can become a private industry job creator instead of dependent on Washington, D.C., and the federal government for our jobs.

I understand the desire to punish the plantation classes. Slavery was a blight on our history. Millions of African Americans were dehumanized in the name of profit. But sadly, slavery was a custom of the day. And we cannot sanitize our history by removing people from our history. Again the PC police will not stop with the Confederate heroes. They want to ban the name of Thomas Jefferson from the UVA campus. Imagine that, banning the founder of a major university from that university, because Jefferson was a slave owner. This is not just a state issue. Princeton University wants to ban the name of Woodrow Wilson from its campus. Now I’m no fan of Wilson as a president, but to ban a former university president’s name from the campus where he presided is crazy. That would be like banning J. Edgar Hoover from the history of the FBI. Yes Hoover was a gross, despicable person, but without that gross, despicable man we don’t have an FBI.

However, making a law that would ban the removal of someone’s name or statue because they committed a horrible sin is as bad as banning the monument – because any government that has the power to do something, will sooner or later abuse that power in the name of the public good. Do you really want Richmond to be in charge of more of your daily life? Ed’s opponents seem to want this. Whoever you vote for on Tuesday, please make sure that your vote is an informed one.

John Massoud is a local magisterial district chair for the Shenandoah County Republican Party, the leader of the Shenandoah County GOP Freedom Caucus, and the regional field director for Ed Gillespie for Governor.