Those Attending Rally for Corey Stewart Do Not Represent All Roanoke Republicans

On a morning when my wife and I are juggling Sudafed and tissues as we battle horrible head colds, a rally held by gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart this weekend in Roanoke compelled me to speak up.

From the Roanoke Times

With close to two dozen supporters, Republican gubernatorial candidate Corey Stewart staged a rally in Roanoke Saturday to preserve Virginia’s Confederate statues and battle flags.

Protecting Virginia’s heritage, and keeping Confederate statues in place is the top issue in the governor’s race, said Stewart, whose single-digit poll numbers show him trailing in a primary race that includes two other GOP candidates.

At Awful Arthur’s downtown, Stewart vowed as governor to defund any Virginia localities that would remove Confederate statues.

Stewart, chairman of Prince William County’s board of supervisors, was co-chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Virginia until he was fired a month before Election Day.

He has turned a fight over a the controversy involving the future of a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville into his top campaign issue.

“If someone’s not strong enough to stand up for Virginia’s heritage, then how can you ever expect that they’re going to stand up for you on other issues, including the economy, tax cuts, any of that stuff,” he said.

For about an hour in Roanoke, Stewart chatted with supporters, many of whom wore camouflage or Confederate flag symbols.

Prior to Stewart’s arrival, a small group of attendees vocally demanded a channel change on two of the televisions in the restaurant and sports bar. The TVs were tuned to a comedy program showing a man wearing tight, revealing, American flag-patterned underwear and nothing else.

A waitress quickly changed the channels to ESPN, but not before a woman shouted, “and they find my flag offensive” alluding to the Confederate battle flag, one of which was delicately folded nearby.

The Roanoke Times was charitable in their coverage. However, in the local news this morning, the Corey Stewart rally looked like a Confederate soldiers rally, waving the Confederate flag around like Jefferson Davis himself had graced Roanoke with a visit.

I do not think the Robert E. Lee statue needs to be removed in Charlottesville nor do I want the Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond to come down. It’s fine to have memorials to let us learn from history.

However, Corey Stewart should be ashamed of himself. 

Any candidate who can stand with a Confederate flag, a symbol of hatred and racism to many, does not deserve the Governor’s Mansion especially in Virginia, the Mother of Presidents. This is the place where men bled and died in Yorktown to free us from the British, where we know that Mr. Jefferson did not stutter when he proclaimed that “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” Where the Lovings fought for the freedom to marry, and Barbara Johns fought for civil rights. Any person who can stand and send out the dog whistle gestures of racism does not deserve to run in Virginia, much less run as a Republican.

As a Roanoke resident, and as chairman of the Roanoke Valley Young Republicans and a member of the Roanoke City Republican Committee, I know that all of us do not agree with Corey Stewart. He does not speak for us. We do not believe in his crusade to send Virginia back into the 1860s. Roanoke is a city of brotherhood, a city of love, a city where brothers and sisters of all nations can come together and live in peace. We are a city where we can depend on others and where we follow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King when he said that he judged men “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

It is my hope that people will not judge all by the actions of such a narrow-minded few.

You may also be interested in Corey Stewart’s Perpetual Anger Machine.

  • Fr. John+

    This entire column smells like cowardly fear -fear that the white Americans who voted Donald Trump in, will actually get their country back! Thank you for dissing Corey Stewart. As a new Virginian, I’m putting my money, my vote, and my voice behind him- Ed Gillespie can go to H…. illary!!

    America for Americans. That’s why we voted Donald Trump in. Y’all are nothing but Potomac scalawags.

    • Stephen Spiker

      75% of America is white. Exactly when do you think you lost your country?

      • Fr. John+

        Obviously, if you consider it not to be ‘your’ country, then you’re not of the American populace…. and I have nothing to say to you.

        • Stephen Spiker

          Obviously, if you refer to white Americans as “they”, then you’re not a white American. Is that how it works?

          • Fr. John+

            No. I am of the Founding stock of this nation. The question, rather, is…Are you?

          • Stephen Spiker

            Regardless, 75% of the population is white. Why are you so terrified of people with darker skin?

    • The “new” Virginian telling somebody who was born and raised here he’s a scalawag? That’s new.

      • Downstater

        Do you even know the difference between a “carpetbagger” and a “scalawag”?

      • Fr. John+

        Hey, it’s the “current here.” The times… They are a changing! But perhaps you’ve not heard that song before

    • Turtles Run

      This entire column smells like cowardly fear -fear that the white Americans who voted Donald Trump in, will actually get their country back!

      As a non-white American let me remind you that this country belongs to us just as much as any other citizen of this nation. We fought and bled for her and no dipstains are going to prevent us from sharing in its bounty.

      Matt Suarez

    • MD Russ

      I really find your use of “Fr. John+” as a screen name to be very objectionable to me as a Roman Catholic. I sincerely doubt that you are a priest, based on your comments. Post your comments under your real name and knock off the bullshit use of an appellation that you have clearly never earned.

      If you don’t, then I will track you down and expose you. Promise.

      • Fr. John+

        And I find your concept that the Roman Catholic Church is a valid communion, to be insulting as well. Rome has been a corrupt graceless institution for over 1000 years, and the anti-pope Bergoglio is the worst leader you have had…ever. So don’t preach to me, you hypocrite! Pull the log out of your own eye. Anathema sit.

  • mezurak

    Welcome to Roanoke, where even Republicans are Democrats. Just another blue dot on an otherwise red countryside.

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  • Tripp Lewis

    Ed Gillespie is a rino and has no chance. You rino republicans haven’t learned anything yet from the last presidential election have you. I’ll stay home and do something useful like pump my septic tank before I go vote for Gillespie.. Hey Matt why don’t you post the pictures of ol Ed hanging out with libs and patting them on the back like our current gov and Bill and Killary Clinton?

    • garrettwatson

      You must of missed all of those pics of trump hanging with, donating to, and patting Democrats on thier back

      • Lee Pillsbury

        Wait!! Are the Trumpists saying it’s ok NOT to support the nominee? That’s great, because I remember the back in the old days they wanted to hang the #nevertrump “traitors”.

    • MD Russ

      I’m glad that you will be pumping your septic tank. That will be more votes for Stewart.

  • Downstater

    How about the headline “Gillespie’s giving green light to C’ville City Council to take down Lee statue in name of pseudo diversity does not represent all Northern Virginia Republicans”?

  • Downstater

    “This is the place where men bled and died in Yorktown to free us from the British, where we know that Mr. Jefferson…..” – yeah, it is also the state of R.E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart, and, did I forget something? Oh yes, its state capital capitol was also the capital of the Confederacy.

    No one wants to take us back to the 1860’s – but we are Virginians and Southerners, and this leftist-inspired vendetta has gone far enough. A very radical, hate-filled city council member (google Wes Bellamy tweets) inspired this for his own political agenda. He got a complaint filed, and now a state must tear down a statue that has been there for a century, just because someone has decided to be offended that day?

    • garrettwatson

      State law prevents the statue for being taken down genius

      • Downstater

        I understand that there is a loophole in that law, Genius. Only historic monuments erected after 1990 something are protected. The Gen. Assembly passed an additional protections bill, but it was vetoed by Tmac. So this raises the question What would Gillespie do if that bill landed on his desk, since he has said he is against the statue being moved, but also believes localities should be able to remove statues?

        So we need some clarification from Ed, Genius.

        • Turbocohen

          Ed does not support tearing down ANY historical statues or markers and has said so on multiple occasions. Off the record he would love to see the offending Cville council fired by voters.. Remember, this is Cville, rhymes with Fairfax.

  • Turbocohen
  • Robert Lee

    Stewart is clearly pandering to racists. It’s Trump’s strategy, so why not?

    • Connie Chastain

      What’s clear is that his critics are SAYING that. It’s all the critics have, that’s why they say it about conservatives over and over and over again, without a scintilla of objective evidence.

  • zke007

    The Virginia GOP just doesn’t get it.
    Ed Gillespie will not win anything

  • Chad Parker

    “Stewart vowed as governor to defund any Virginia localities that would remove Confederate statues”

    That knocking sound coming out of Lee Chapel in Lexington is the general rolling in his grave.

    Stewart is invoking the name of the military commander of a rebellion, supporters argue, against a central government forcing its will on more localized governments, the states. States are better suited to understand the needs of its citizens because they are closer to the people.

    And he’s invoking Robert E. Lee by saying “if localities want to remove statues of a man who led military forces against a central government forcing its will on more localized governments, the states, then as governor, the central government I run will force its will against the more localized governments.”
    You can’t make up this irony.

  • Connie Chastain

    Quote, “Any candidate who can stand with a Confederate flag, a symbol of hatred and racism to many, does not deserve the Governor’s Mansion especially in Virginia, the Mother of Presidents.”

    A symbol of hatred and racism to many? How many? And how do you KNOW how many? Have you taken a poll? Or are you just repeating what you’ve heard from other people — “journalists,” for example — who ALSO don’t know how many is “many.”

    It is just as accurate to say there are many who do not agree with your claim of what the flag symbolizes, and they are getting tired of an undetermined number of people attempting to foist off their view of the flag onto the public at large.

    According to a poll by CNN in July of 2015, most people, not an undeter- mined “many”, but MOST — 57% to be precise — see the flag more as a symbol of Southern pride than as a symbol of racism.

    And according to a 2011 poll by Pew Research, more African Americans are indifferent to the Confederate flag (45%) than those who view it negatively (41%).

    “Dog whistles of racism” are figments of liberal imagination. Many things the left calls “racism” and “racist” are not, in fact, either one. Genuine racists (and there aren’t that many of them) prefer bullhorns to dog whistles — they really aren’t hard to spot.

    It is way past time for the South to cease allowing the personal opinions and emotions of a relative few on the political left (regardless of party affiliation) to dictate to everyone what the region’s history, heritage and culture mean, and what segments of it Southerners will be allowed to commemorate.

    Mr. Stewart is conducting a crusade to send Virginia back into the 1860s? What a ridiculous, all-emotion, no-cognition claim.

    Mr. Hall needs to come into the real world in the 21st Century and realize that there are fewer and fewer cities on the planet where brothers and sisters of all nations can come together and live in peace. (Obviously, “brothers and sisters” who commemorate their Confederate heritage would not be allowed in Mr. Hall’s Roanoke.)

    This opinion piece is pablum. If the author doesn’t mean it, but thinks he has to say it to remain a viable member of the political scene, he is attempting to fool the people and his writings cannot be trusted. If he does mean it, and he develops greater influence over politics in Roanoke and Virginia, God help the people of the Commonwealth who will be at the mercy of the era he and his ilk will usher in….

  • Fr. John+

    Must be hard to sit down if you don’t have a rear end.

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