You remember Virginia, right? The first settled (and 10th admitted) American state? The one that launched our fledgling republic with the Declaration of Independence (some local carrot-top wrote it, from what I hear), provided the blueprint for our constitutional system of government via James Madison’s “Virginia Plan,” then popped out eight presidents for good measure (although Woodrow Wilson proved to be such a colossal bore, the “Mother of Presidents” apparently decided to give the whole prez-spawning business a rest for a while).
So you’d think we might’ve figured out the intricacies of this whole “governing” thing by now. But, from all available evidence, you’d be wrong. I hate to say it, but what used to be a world-class political farm team for that alabaster McMansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is looking more and more like the cast of Major League IV: The Search for Charlie Sheen’s Toupee. Sure, we’ve got a few star players (the kind of guys who aren’t afraid to tell Roll Call that they’d like to put a dusty combat boot up George Bush’s backside), but for every ornery Jim Webb and crusty-yet-competent John Warner, we’re also stuck with dozens of Virgil Goodes and Frank Hargroves—pompous dimwits who seem bound and determined to say the first damn fool thing that comes into their tiny, blow-dried heads.
In fact, anyone taking a cursory look at recent Virginia electoral history might easily assume that we’re running some sort of training school for the politically impaired—a sort of Xavier Academy for governmentally-challenged mutants. Honestly, it’s as if these pee-wee league pols don’t know the most basic things about American politics. Things like:
Politicians like Virgil Goode, Frank Hargrove and George Allen (left to right) better watch what they say. Our intrepid columnist is on their trail.
If your opponent’s dark-skinned campaign operative is pointing a video camera at you, you should probably resist the impulse to call him a monkey.
If you feel irresistibly compelled to send out a hate-filled screed about a recently elected Muslim congressman, you might want to double-check the mailing list to make sure it doesn’t include the chair of a left-leaning environmental group.
Or, of course:
If you’ve already alienated every African-American in the Commonwealth by telling them they “should get over” slavery, maybe it’s not the smartest idea to follow it up by wondering aloud if the Jews should “apologize for killing Christ,” and then top it all off by telling a fellow lawmaker whose ancestors emigrated from Nazi-occupied Poland that his skin’s a “little too thin.”
Not to be unduly harsh here, but isn’t there some sort of accrediting process to keep these amateurs from entering politics in the first place? Or, barring that, can’t we at least force these bush-leaguers to wear a ceremonial dunce cap at all subsequent public events, thereby proving that Virginia, the place where it all began, still has a shred of her precious dignity left?
Well, it might be a fool’s errand, but I’m going to start embroidering the Virginia state flag on that cap right now. (A flag which, unbeknownst to almost everyone, features a half-naked virgin stomping on a chain-wielding dead guy—but that’s a subject for an entirely different column.) And, as long as I have breath in my body, toner in my ink jet, and the ongoing indulgence of the fine folks at C-VILLE, I intend to place it on as many deserving heads as I possibly can.
Let the games begin!