“This weekend’s desecration at Hollywood Cemetery is morally wrong,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says regarding the March 12 vandalism. “Disturbing final resting places is contemptible, criminal and will not be tolerated.”
Huh. Those are some pretty disingenuous statements considering the caustic comments made by the duplicitous mayor about razing the city’s many Southern monuments which honor the dead.
The malevolent mayor
“We’re transforming the landscape, removing symbols of injustice,” Stoney tweeted. “Meanwhile, the work doesn’t stop to transform systems built on that same hateful foundation.” Couldn’t the Hollywood vandals claim they were following the mayor’s lead and simply “transforming the landscape”?
Well, he sure knows how to use his systemic power to build the hate in Virginia’s capital city (and beyond), strengthening the anti-Southern mobsters’ foundation of anarcho-tyranny. I mean, there ain’t nothing more systemically unjust than living in a society in which those that hate you hold all the power and seek to grow it through force.
As an acolyte of former Virginia governor and Clinton stooge Terry McAuliffe, who quipped “there is no place for you here” to the Unite the Right protesters defending the Lee monument in Charlottesville, you’d think that Stoney would include final resting in the whole cultural-genocide campaign he and his “social justice” buddies run. The equity sham is big business, after all.
And considering that Stoney calls the monuments “symbols of hate” and advises that Richmond should “tear down the system that those monuments symbolized,” aren’t those who wrecked the graveyard just following orders? Graves are memories of the dead, as are monuments.
He continues, “Many onlookers have stated to me that it reminds them of when the Berlin Wall fell. You’re my age — I’m 39 — so images of the Berlin Wall for me are the graffitied wall fallen. We didn’t know what the words said at the time … [but] when we lifted those monuments off their pedestals, off of their platforms, it certainly felt like that moment when the Berlin Wall fell.”
Yes, folks: razing monuments to famous Virginians in her capital city is akin to tearing down the geopolitical barrier put up in a country conquered by foreigners. He’s actually asserting that the fall of communism is just like today’s invaders, traitors, and despots destroying the history and tradition of the homeland natives.
I can guaran-damn-tee-it that “Kill whitey,” “Racist traitor,” “KKKcops,” “Protect black trans women,” or even “Black lives matter” were nowhere to be found on the Soviet-built structure. Is Stoney’s mind so logically starved and fed with agitprop that he cannot see that he is the Soviet-style aggressor? That he himself created the climate for Hollywood’s unholy ravaging? Hell, maybe he should read my essay, “Russian lessons for Dixie.”
“Failing to remove the statues now poses a severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety,” Stoney proclaimed in a statement. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protesters attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves … the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death.”
Y’all, he’s seriously saying that Richmond must cave to the violent iconoclasts in order to protect people from violence and the less than 1% mortality rate of the coof. Seems Stoney is just a self-serving man who will use any excuse to feed the neo-Bolshevik beast? Who da thunk?
It’s been a long time comin’
Man, how I yearn for the days of yore when Richmond wasn’t a totalitarian train wreck. In my essays “Rebel with a cause” and “Richmond: Paradox & permanence,” I’ve discussed my dismay at what has become of the place where I born and lived for the first two-plus decades of my life.
Even in the ’90s, Virginia wasn’t the wretched hellscape that it is today. Although it was largely governed by Doug Wilder, the country’s first black mayor who claimed to be a moderate but was actually a progressive back then. His woke accomplishments include such gems as admitting women into the Virginia Military Institute, ridding the Battle Flag from the Virginia National Guard uniform, and removing “Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” as the state song. And he’s certainly not afraid to play the racism card when he doesn’t get his way today.
However, I think the 1992 Cowboy Junkies’ song “Oregon Hill” sums up the traditional/contemporary balance that Richmond used to possess. Although the band hails from Canada, the lead guitarist Michael Timmins penned the song when he was at the house of his then future wife, an alum of the city’s uber-artsy Virginia Commonwealth University and a resident of the bohemian neighborhood in which the 135-acre historic Hollywood is located.
The lyrics seem to encompass the end of an era in which opposing worldviews are constantly colliding yet somehow still exist peacefully among one another. Back then, you could make a day trip to visit the United Daughters of the Confederacy where Stonewall Jackson’s headquarters flag was housed or the Virginia Capitol to see the spot where Lee accepted command of the Army of Northern Virginia in defense of his home. And that night, you could catch a live performance by GWAR or wax philosophical with Dirt Woman.
But now, Jackson’s flag is gone, burned along with other historic artifacts during last summer’s riots, and Lee’s statue was removed by Yankee and scalawag political opportunists under the cover of night. Virginia’s once-unique capitol is no longer distinctive in its passion for the past and the peculiar present, but is now just generic in its iniquity and rootlessness. In his part-love-song/part-Richmond-ode, Timmins wrote:
“The hoods are up on Pine Street, rear ends lifted too. The great-grandsons of General Robert E. Lee are making love with a little help from STP …Greasy eggs and bacon, bumper stickers aimed to start a fight, full gun racks, Confederate caps … A river to the south to wash away all sins. A college to the east of us to learn where sin begins. A graveyard to the west of it all which I may soon be lying in.”
Established in 1847, Hollywood houses the final resting place of three American presidents, six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, 25 Confederate generals (more than any other cemetery in the country), and other prominent figures who have “significantly influenced the course of history due to their actions or opinions.” The Hollywood website adds that the location “ranks as the second most-visited cemetery in the nation, right behind Arlington National Cemetery.”
There you will find a prominent 90-foot pyramid memorializing the 18,000 Confederate soldiers buried nearby. It’s made of stacked blocks of James River granite and is constructed without bonding, and was dedicated in 1869. Here’s what the cemetery has to say about the now-controversial architectural marvel:
“When the pyramid was erected, Southerners still called the Civil War ‘The Lost Cause.’ Now we know that the cause was not a lost one. These men’s lives, along with those of their northern counterparts, were given to forge a single and better nation. Their blood, shed in battle, gave birth to a new America, one that in another century would restore and protect freedom around the world.”
Just like Stoney, this kind of nation-statist, “America is an idea” narrative makes those who run the cemetery complicit in its destruction. Besides the imperial ideology, the mental gymnastics is ludicrous. Although they are right that it was pro-Confederate journalist Edward A. Pollard who coined the phrase in his 1866 book, “The Lost Cause: A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates,” we all know what it means now in postmodern times — slavery, oh, pardon me, “enslavement.” And those who honor their ancestors and their resistance to centralization are “lost causers,” i.e. white supremacists and Nazis.
The cemetery officials are obviously trying to walk the woke tight wire while also preserving their cemetery. Instead of participating in this futile effort, they should simply reiterate the concise and compassionate words delivered at the opening of the museum of the White House of the Confederacy in 1896:
“Our memorial will be here in Richmond, the heart and grave of the Confederacy, and around it hovers the immortal soul of love and of memory, which for all times will sanctify it to all true men and women. They will know that it is a memorial of no ‘Lost Cause.’ They will never believe that ‘we thought we were right,’ they will know, as we knew, that we were right, immortally right, and that the conqueror was wrong, eternally wrong. The great army of the dead is here, the sentiment of the living is here, the memories of the past are here, the monuments of the future will be here.“
“As all roads lead to Rome, so in the ages to come all ties of memory, of sentiment, of heart, and of feeling, will vibrate from Richmond. As every follower of the prophet at sunset turns his face to Mecca, and sends up a prayer for the dead and the living, so everywhere in this great South Land, which was the Confederacy, whenever the trumpet call of duty sounds, when the call to do right without regard to consequence rings over the woods and the meadows, the mountains and the valleys, the spirit of the Confederacy will rise, the dead of Hollywood and of Oakwood will stand in ranks, and their eternal memory will inspire their descendants to do right whatever it cost of life or fortune, of danger and disaster.”
Truth warrior, Jesus follower, wife, and boymom. Apologetics practitioner for Orthodox Christianity, the Southern tradition, homeschooling, and freedom. Recovering feminist-socialist-atheist, graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and retired mainstream journalist turned domesticated belle and rabble-rousing rhetorician. A mama who’s adept at triggering leftits, so she’s going to bang as loudly as she can.