COLUMN — Democrats’ policy is symbolism over substance
As you may have already heard, last Thursday, under cover of darkness, Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn had a number of Confederate busts along with the Robert E. Lee statue removed from the Old House Chamber.
Speaker Filler-Corn’s decision to remove these historic markers in the middle of the night with no notice is instructive. If she had the authority to do so, why engage in all the secrecy?
One can make arguments about monuments to people, but the Lee statue in the Old House Chamber was a marker, not a monument, in the fact that it marked a place where a significant event in our nation’s history took place. The Lee statue in the Old House Chamber was not a monument to the Lost Cause. Instead, it was much like the two cannons removed from Monument Avenue — a marker that noted the place a significant event occurred.
Rather than work with a broad group of people to reach a consensus, the speaker has taken the same actions as Gov. Ralph Northam and Mayor Levar Stoney — acting quickly at the behest of the mob, building anger rather than goodwill. In a broader sense, the Democrats have taken what could have been a moment for true progress and squandered it on symbolism.
The killing of George Floyd cut across traditional boundaries in a way we haven’t seen for decades. For the first time, there was consensus that solid action needed to be taken. But by changing their focus to mob-approved actions like defunding the police, defelonizing assaults against police, removing officers from schools, and tearing down statues representing historical markers, that goodwill has been squandered, and players have retreated to their partisan corners.
Putting symbolism over substance is a hallmark of Democratic policy. During the 2020 session, Democrats passed legislation ostensibly to combat gun violence, but rather than address the root of the most common forms of gun violence, they chose to go after law-abiding gun owners.
In one day, 28 people were shot in Richmond and Henrico County, even as these new laws were in effect. Democrats killed a proven gun violence prevention strategy, Project Ceasefire, because it did not involve gun control. Virginians are getting tired of symbolic gestures. They want solutions.
The first of three joint meetings of the House Public Safety and Courts of Justice committees was held last week. There was really nothing of substance discussed and no legislation proposed at this meeting. It was just more of the same rhetoric from the Democrats that want to make it harder for police officers to do their jobs.
Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.