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Republican supervisor calls on county to relocate Confederate statue in Leesburg

Broad Run Supervisor Ron Meyer (R). File photo.
In wake of the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Loudoun County Supervisor Ron Meyer (R-Broad Run) has become the first Republican member of the Board of Supervisors to publicly call for the Confederate statue on the courthouse grounds in Leesburg to be moved.

In an opinion piece published in the Washington Examiner, Meyer called Confederate statues a “reminder that parts of our nation celebrated and continues to honor those who sought to keep them enslaved forever.”

Instead of destroying the Leesburg’s Confederate statue, Meyer said he supported moving it to Ball’s Bluff National Cemetery about two miles from the courthouse grounds, where the monument could “educate and serve as a memorial for families who seek to remember their ancestors as American veterans.”

“My Republican Party is still the party of Lincoln, that led the Civil Rights movement, and defends the Constitution and its Bill of Rights. The Confederacy opposed all four,” Meyer said in the Washington Examiner.

“It is these conservative Republican principles I believe deeply in my core that lead me to support moving the statue of a generic Confederate soldier in Leesburg, Va., where I serve as an elected official on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors,” he said.

After thousands of white supremacists, Neo-Nazis and counter protesters descended on Charlottesville over the weekend to protest the removal of the statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee, leaders from around the country have renewed calls to take down monuments that many see as a symbols of oppression and slavery.

For years, the 109-year-old Confederate statue in downtown Leesburg has been a polarizing symbol.

Anti-monument voices say the statue is a symbol of racism and inequality that doesn't belong next to the courthouse, a place meant to usher in justice and equality. Monument supporters say it's a part of history that should remain in its place.

“As a conservative, I stand for the liberty of all Americans -- no one can argue that is what the Confederacy stood for. Indeed, that's exactly what they feared and what they fought against,” he said.

Meyer also criticized President Donald Trump and other Republican lawmaker’s view that if Confederate monuments are moved, memorials of the country’s founding fathers like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson will be targeted next.

“The premise underlying Trump's argument is that the founders are morally equivalent to Confederates. He argues that the people who created the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence are morally the same as those who sought to destroy the values enshrined in all three,” Meyers said.

“This argument is intellectually lazy and based on false logic. Yes, a small fraction of the American Left want to remove memorials to the founders because many of them owned slaves; few mainstream or progressive Democrats subscribe to this view,” he added.

Meyer also called on localities -- not national figures -- to decide and lead the debate around the removal of Confederate monuments.

The Broad Run Supervisor’s remarks came as Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) said earlier this week she plans to ask the General Assembly to give localities greater discretion over war monuments and memorials within their jurisdiction.

Randall said the Board of Supervisors did not have the authority on its own to relocate or remove the Confederate statue in Leesburg without the approval of the General Assembly. She cited state code that prohibits localities from removing, disturbing or interfering with any memorials or monuments for war veterans.

But the chairwoman’s announcement has drawn criticism.

Phillip Thompson, the head of the local chapter of the NAACP, called the county’s efforts to seek guidance from the commonwealth a “cop out” and said that Loudoun should make a final decision on its own.

Thompson, who has for years pressed the county to move Confederate statue from the courthouse grounds to a different location, said he thinks Loudoun should look to a decision out of Danville, where a judge ruled that the state code did not apply to memorials built before 1998.

Others fear that the General Assembly will not grant Loudoun’s request.

“This is going to continue to be a contentious issue that Leesburg needs to, at some point, show some leadership and address,” said Loudoun NAACP President Phillip Thompson. “Address it one way or the other, either make a decision you’re not going to move the statue and stop hiding behind some flawed legal interpretation, or make the decision that we are going to move the statue.”

The full Board of Supervisors will also need to sign off on the adding Loudoun’s request for greater discretion over monuments to its 2018 legislative agenda.

Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D-Leesburg) said that so far she thinks at least four supervisors plan to support adding the request to their legislative agenda.


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @SydneyKashiwagi.

Comments


Balls Bluff Cemetery home to Union soldiers is where Meyers wants to move a confederate statue, does this guy think before he inserts his foot in his mouth.


“Evidently you’re confused about the responsibilities of “the president”.”

Matt Smith:  No, I’m not.

“I have to laugh at you complaining about Obama NOT doing what you didn’t want him to do! I’m an independent and have voted for both of the major parties.”

Yes, it is a “local” decision. My comments are not a “complaint”. But that does not mean a President can’t express an opinion about it. And neither Obama nor the Democrats were calling for the removal of statues during Obama’s Presidency.  So why is it an issue now?

Removing monuments all over the country isn’t going to promote national unity, it isn’t going to bring people together, it isn’t going to heal our nation, and I believe the events in Charlottesville and elsewhere are a pretty good foreshadowing what is in store for this country. The problem isn’t monuments. It is the human heart.


Move the courthouse, leave the statue.  Turn courthouse in Civil War museum.  Profit.


Loudoun4Trump : It’s obvious,  to anyone rational, that the ROLES of the parties have reversed. We all know what those roles were in the 1850s, and they’re the opposite now as evidenced by the support, or lack thereof, on the statue issue. SterlingLocal: The inner city issue isn’t a cross racial issue.It’s mostly, if not all, black on black.  And what makes you think “Social warriors” aren’t concerned or taking part, and what are YOU doing about it?


Jeanne T.: Evidently you’re confused about the responsibilities of “the president”. Locals would be responsible for taking down statues. Though, hopefully, presidents wouldn’t pander to racist bigots as the current one does. I have to laugh at you complaining about Obama NOT doing what you didn’t want him to do! I’m an independent and have voted for both of the major parties. It’s about issues, not parties whose policies change over time (as should be obvious in the Civil War debate). However, since the GOP have had the same 2 policies for the past 30+ years, tax breaks and deregulation for the ULTRA wealthy at the expense of everyone else, I probably won’t be voting GOP any time soon. Combine that with their pandering to irrational people, of multiple varieties, since they couldn’t possibly achieve their agenda without duping people into supporting policies that will hurt their economic situation…


to all the voices calling for removal of the statue, Where are these white suburban racial equality warriors in opposition of the daily genocide going on in the streets of Chicago? Why aren’t these social justice warriors up there demanding a stop the daily slaughter of Americas inner city African Americans? Where are these offended snowflakes when 8 year olds get caught in the gunfire in DC? Sounds of silence! fake outrage in the White suburbs from the liberal left.


Matt Smith has fallen for the big lie—there was no reversal of parties…Strom Thurmond was the only senator to move from Democrat to Republican, during this so called reversal of parties - that’s it—hardly a reversal of parties ... it’s a crying shame to see how ignorant people can be over the history of this country, but I’m sure the public education system has a lot to do with this…


who needs “to stop whitewashing (no pun intended) the history of their racist Party”  ???  we go from statues to running for office

many white supremacists are likely plotting & some are already announcing their next campaigns for 2018 on the Republican ticket -

“As national attention on white nationalist groups mounts—emboldened by the Trump presidency, far-right factions have shown more public and frequent displays of hate speech and violence—it’s likely that Invictus will not be the only neo-Nazi, Holocaust denier, or radical far-right figure to seek political office.”

“The GOP could have a hard time disavowing someone like Invictus, when the party is currently led by Trump and is filled with lawmakers who also frequently make appeals to the party’s racist base, without necessarily describing themselves as white nationalists.”

“If the Republican establishment’s reaction to Trump’s “both sides” comments is any indication, the party is not ready to take a bold stance against white supremacy. Only a handful of Republican members of Congress explicitly criticized Trump.” (klerner)


Matt Smith:

You don’t know who my ancestors were, so why are you making bigoted assumptions? In fact, none of them came to this country until the 1900’s. If my recollection of history is correct, the Civil War was fought before that. Furthermore, I’m not from the South; I was raised in Minnesota. That was considered the “North”, i.e., on the side of the Union and not the Confederacy. Minnesotans fought on the winning side, the Union.  And since my ancestors didn’t arrive here until the 1900’s I think it’s safe to say that they didn’t fight in the Civil War and didn’t own slaves.

Barack Obama did nothing to remove Confederate statues in eight years. Apparently that was fine with Matt.

I also notice that Matt Smith did not refute the history of his Party. The only thing he is honest about is his admission that there is in fact, a “political component” to this debate, which involves the Democratic Party.

Matt Smith is unable to make an argument, only engaging in ad hominem attacks of those he doesn’t know.

Jeanne T.
Loudoun to Catawba


Ancient Egypt had slaves.  Tear down the pyramids.  Egypt still has slaves, which liberals don’t care about, including cowards like Meyer.  Steve Scalise, republican who was nearly murdered by a Bernie Sanders supporter, has a bill to address the 30 million people who are enslaved TODAY.  But Democrats and NAACP don’t care about that, they’d rather destroy monuments. Since we’re tearing down mo uments, tear down the Vietnam wall, it is a monument to mostly white men and it was built since 1900.  This is ethnic cleansing.  Destroying historical effects is a form of genocide.  Southerners have been hated since the civil war, even though most of them never owned slaves. The Emancipation proclamation was only for states that seceded, not for Union States that still had slaves.  Maryland still had slaves during the civil war.  Northern generals Grant and Sherman still had slaves who were not released until the 13 amendment was law.  Why is grant still on the $50 bill?  But you don’t see Southerners raising Cain about their northern killers on money.  The destruction and removal of statues is another shtick to create racial unrest, and it does.  This is ethnic cleansing. Over 62% of Americans, including 40+% of black people are against the removal of statues.  All you are doing is hurting people—but vengeance is your goal.  Note, this comes about when the county board flips to Democrat, including the chair.  This is what you will be remembered for.


George Orwell 1984: “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue & street building has been renamed, every date has been altered, & the process is continuing day by day & minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the party is always right.” Statues of the Confederacy should remain as historical symbols. Its killing me to see the ISIS-like destruction of these beautiful monuments by idiots with no respect of historical significance past their desire to rage on something & the conning by liberal media.


Interesting that Virginia SGP, Jeanne T, Sterling local, Ron Speakman, and others here, are indicating a strong political component to the idea of slave ownership and celebration of such! Who would have known, especially after all the protests of “non-racism” from Obama haters the last 8 years. Thanks for the admission, at least for their own part. Enjoy reveling in the thought that your ancestors lacked the resourcefulness to earn a living without exploiting people who they deemed to be inferior. Your admiration of the Grifter in Chief, who also exploits cheap labor and stiffs his contractors, makes a lot of sense! You deserve each other! BTW, anyone, with at least 2 brain cells to rub together, knows that the 2 parties have reversed roles a few times, including the mid 1850s, when the GOP represented people other than the top 1/10th of 1% wealthiest individuals.


If there is a good reason to remove these statues at all, then it should be to protest what the Democratic Party stood for. The Democratic Party is the Party of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and opposition to civil rights. Democrats need to stop whitewashing (no pun intended) the history of their racist Party. It is hypocritical to demand these statues be removed while denying its history.  It is the Democratic Party that needs to be destroyed.


Today’s Democrats are finally discovering what yesterday’s Democrats were like.


The simple solution for the statues on public land. Grandfather all statues erected prior to 1900. Most if not all can be found in cemeteries or battlefields as memorials to fallen fighters, erected by Veteran Groups. Remove the rest since they were mainly funded by the Daughters of the Confederacy between 1901 - 1927. Defer the decision to the local government as to what is history and why some unknown guy holding a gun or on horseback offers value to that time. They surely should not be on the entrance to the “Halls of Justice” aka the Courthouse.


Instead of tearing things down, maybe spend money on something productive and add a monument of some sort to appease the resistance…maybe a tribute to the northern republicans who fought for emancipation would be in order to offset this southern democrat statue that seems to be so offensive to the democrats of today.  I prefer productive versus destruction any day.


Great quote, DLD.  And spot on.


The following is from the W. Post which sets out the reality of these statues:

But what do we learn from the history of these monuments? Are they truly innocuous symbols of Confederate heritage, as their defenders argue? The facts tell us otherwise.

Almost none of the monuments were put up right after the Civil War. Some were erected during the civil rights era of the early 1960s, which coincided with the war’s centennial, but the vast majority of monuments date to between 1895 and World War I. They were part of a campaign to paint the Southern cause in the Civil War as just and slavery as a benevolent institution, and their installation came against a backdrop of Jim Crow violence and oppression of African Americans. The monuments were put up as explicit symbols of white supremacy.


It wont be enough for the left, they want removal of all historical references. Mark my words if they move it to balls bluff, they will protest that also. the left protests just for the sake of protesting. it never ends. That is why Trump was elected.


“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

― George Orwell, 1984


Correction please. “The Holocaust Museum commemorates the VICTIMS of oppression and there are no statues of Hitler or Stalin.”
PS, LOL at the “People FROM Virginia” who are so proud of their cracker ancestors who couldn’t figure out how to support themselves without exploiting people. Just like their new Messiah, Trump. “Sad”.


Move the statute without the law being amended or rescinded is wrong! The opinion of the Danville Circuit Court is not binding on other judicial circuits and it certainly is not precedent and Thompson, a lawyer from the local NAACP knows it! Why doesn’t the NAACP simply file a declaratory judgment action in the Circuit Court of Loudoun County and lets see how a Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge rules. I am betting that the Circuit Court will rule that the statute can NOT be moved without violating the Code of Virginia. Then the NAACP can appeal to the Supreme Court of Virginia and see how the high court rules. We are a society of rules and laws. The rule of law is alive and well in this great Commonwealth! The statue stays until the Virginia General Assembly alters the law or rescind the law!

Brian Allman
Democratic nominee for Sherriff of Loudoun County - 2015


Ron meyer—grandstanding again.  The new Delgaudio!  Perhaps he hopes his article will help get his pretty face on CNN and MSNBC, too.  Seems politicians in both parties are trying to score points with this monument thing.


This will reach the absurd very soon when public officials don’t wake up.  Here is an example.  Poe help a family member the slave trade.  He must be evil and all traces of him removed from public view so as not to offend or provide a rallying point for the racist. His written works and markers removed, and even the Ravens football team must be renamed or removed. 

The arguments to remove and counterpoints:
1. They Offend the viewer
    We can never get rid of everything that offends, and once one offensive object is gone another will pop up to be in turn removed, and there can never be any proof in the claims of being offended or is it just to usurp power
2. It’s a symbol of racism
  Hater’s will pick and choose their symbols as time goes by.  Out law today’s sign/flag/symbol/monument and they will use another one tomorrow.  The USA Flag was used by the KKK. 
3. It is a gathering point or rallying point for racists
  They will gather and rally anywhere they want.  And when you remove every location you think they will gather, then they will show somewhere else.
4. It glorifies those who fought for slavery
  These monuments vary.  Not everyone who fought owned slaves.  Most common soldiers did not.  The Union troops did not go to war to free the slaves.  History is not what you want it to be.  It is what it was and can not be changed.  Read what the soldiers wrote to find out why they fought.  Lee got his slaves from his wife because he was dirt poor.  Jackson owned no slaves.  There were free black men who formed confederate units.  Freeing slaves was a by product of the war but not the sole reason for the start of the war. 
5. It was put up during Jim Crow/Civil Rights to intimidate minorities or show defiance
  There is no way the 1500 monuments committees and individuals who placed these markers were able to conspire together and come up with an intimidation factor.  If this were the cast then there would have been just as much an intimidation factor in the markers placed by the 1000’2 in the north.  These were placed during every decade after the war, not just select periods.  99% of markers north and south state nothing about freeing or enslaving others as the reasons for placing them.
6. Don’t destroy just remove to places of other historic relevance such as battlefields
  There is no end to what will be removed.  Next the battlefields and museums will be removed as the sites of to many symbols of hate.  Then it will be rich people who have white privilege and the uncle tom’s who back them; they must be removed.

This is identity politics with the end result being the state as the sole holder of all we identify with.  It is exactly why you don’t get rid of history good or bad so we remember what it was.  Unfortunately hate will not be removed from this world until this world no longer exists.

Meyer’s you have no idea what you are doing.


People not from Virginia trying to remove our monuments…it never ends


Panderer


thanks supervisor meyer - measured & sensitive compromise

excerpts support his rationale -  “These monuments are not benign markers of “Southern heritage.” They unequivocally celebrate a tradition of white supremacy. Look no further than Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederacy, who declared the Confederacy to be founded “upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.””

“The reason these statues were built has its roots in oppression. Most of these monuments were constructed in the early 1900s as the South was imposing Jim Crow segregation and racial terrorism on black communities. In fact, many were a direct reaction to the perceived threat of racial progress, as with the surge in schools being named after Confederates following the Brown v. Board of Education decision on school integration.”

“This concerted effort to resurrect the symbolism of the Confederacy so long after losing the war is without precedent. For instance, there are no statues of Hitler in Germany today. Swastikas and other Nazi emblems are banned throughout the country. Rather, the German government has chosen to shut down symbols of its nation’s history of hate and devote resources to commemorate the people who were victimized.”

“Where are the statues depicting black liberation?” vox, 8-17-17


It’s plain and simple.  These statues were put up to send a message—a racist message.  They were erected to let people who was really still in charge.  There were Union soldiers from Loudoun and they have no monument.  This statue needs to go.  It’s time to let go of the racist Jim Crow past.  We have a county museum where we can display this and other statues if needed.  That’s the appropriate place, not the place where justice is served to all citizens.


Ignorance is no excuse for history. When do we stop? How about President Andrew Jackson a proponent of slavery and George Washington to name a few. The leadership that won the Revolution were proponents of slavery. The stupidity and ignorance that has consume the fools who have not studied history is the fault of our education system. Professors, high school educators have refused and even hidden the truth since the 1960s. I do agree, ignorant white males embracing confederate flags perpetuate the idea of racism and hate. Most of these same men, like the american public could not tell you why the war was fought. For all those out there who want to destroy the character of men who died on the battlefield of glory are as twisted as the KKK and NEO-Nazis. NO GENERAL FROM VIRGINIA WHO FOUGHT FOR VIRGINIA OWNED SLAVES UNLIKE THEIR NORTHERN OPPONENTS !!!


So, legislation from Richmond is necessary to remove the statue from the courthouse.  Let’s see.  Two Loudoun Delegates, Randy Minchew and David LaRock, both Republicans, can certainly introduce the kind of legislation necessary.  But, will they?  I suspect each will come up with some really silly arguments why they either don’t need to, or can’t, or simply will not.  Bottom line, both will refuse to do anything.


Virginia SGP, you are right but Lincoln did evolve and even supported blacks having the vote. I’m glad to see Loudoun evolving to take into consideration the people who this statue offends. They pay taxes too, their taxes should not have to go to maintenance of such divisive monuments.


Ignorance is no excuse for history. When do we stop? How about President Andrew Jackson a proponent of slavery and George Washington to name a few. The leadership that won the Revolution were proponents of slavery. The stupidity and ignorance that has consume the fools who have not studied history is the fault of our education system. Professors, high school educators have refused and even hidden the truth since the 1960s. I do agree, ignorant white males embracing confederate flags perpetrate the idea of racism and hate. Most of these same men, like the american public could not tell you why the war was fought. For all those out there who want to destroy the character of men who died on the battlefield of glory are as twisted as the KKK and NEO-Nazis. NO GENERAL FROM VIRGINIA WHO FOUGHT FOR VIRGINIA OWNED SLAVES UNLIKE THEIR NORTHERN OPPONENTS !!!


Ed Meyers, if you want to commemorate history, move confederate statues to a museum (including Gettysburg) or a confederate cemetery, and erect public statues of slaves being freed. OR, let the descendants of slaves decide. They are the ones that would be slaves today without abolishon. Fighting on the wrong side of history, and humanity, doesn’t guarantee that your leaders deserve to be commemorated in public. Just as the Holocaust Museum commemorates the VICTIMS of the confederacy and there are no statues of Hitler or Stalin.


@EdMyers - you’re joking, right?

“Statues were invented for a time when there weren’t many books and most people couldn’t read.”

Seriously? They may have been invented WHEN there weren’t many books, but that doesn’t mean that they are outdated now. Should we tear down every statue everywhere since society has evolved past the point of needing them?


Excellent compromise! Good work!


Ron Meyer is about as principled as one of the remaining 5 contestants on Survivor.

So I was listening to a program in the car this weekend.  The interviewer was asking supporters of both sides if their leaders had gone too far.  I recall the interviewer asked a Trump supporter (in Georgia I believe) what Trump might do/say to “cross the line” so that he would no longer support him. I thought about the question and came up with my own answer.

If Trump ever espoused the positions of Abraham Lincoln, I would drop all support of him, write letters to the editor and protest him.  You see Lincoln was an avowed racist who appointed a resettlement commissioner (James Mitchell) to move black Americans to Central America (Belize).  Lincoln opposed slavery expansion, in part, because he didn’t want blacks and whites to live together.  In his letter to NY Tribune editor Horace Greeley, Lincoln wrote:

“If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it ...”

Slavery was wrong.  Discrimination IS wrong.  Nearly all of our leaders have some checkered parts of their past.  But it is history.  And the poor farmers who sacrificed to fight for their families in the Civil War are no less noble, or troubled, than the man who sits in that giant cathedral on the west end of the National Mall.

So I’ll make a deal with you, Ron.  If you agree to move the Lincoln Memorial from the National Mall, I will support you in your hollow attempts to curry political favor and move the Confederate Soldier statue from the Leesburg square.


Get rid of all the statues. Statues were invented for a time when there weren’t many books and most people couldn’t read.  It would be better to put up a plaque with a qcode to the county historical society. We will be better off without the clutter of statutes on the courthouse lawn.


Supervisor Meyer.  Federal Law of 1958 treats Confederate soldiers the same as all Armed Forces member; past, present, and future.  Will you remove all war memorials from the courthouse grounds.  State law prevents the statues from being moved.  For now the debate is settled unless you don’t want to follow the law.  If you want to make a change you can do then change the name/mascot of Loudoun County HS.  They are the Raiders named after Mosby’s Raiders.  Their symbol is that of crossed civil war era swords.  Now that is change you can mandate since the county controls the school budget.  Should cost more than about a half million dollars to swap out the offending name/logo.  Maybe concentrate on that.


That’s what I was hoping to see- a compromise of sorts. Of course some people will not be happy with anything less than destruction, this is just the latest excuse.
Does anyone else find it baffling that these statues have stood for years and years and now, suddenly people need them removed and destroyed RIGHT NOW. Are these the people we’re expected to appease in the future? NO WAY.


Times of chaos require leadership. Supervisor Meyer’s position has merit especially being the first to formally request a solution. Meanwhile Loudoun is at risk from protests disruption of business and quality of life in Leesburg.  Not to mention as taxpayers we are paying for 24 hour deputies on overtime guarding the statue. To me leadership would be to remove the catalyst and put it in safe storage until some final decisions can be made. Just adding the issue to the 2018 legislative agenda and expecting a resolution is a pipe dream and far from a real time solution.


Thank you Supervisor Meyer!!  You are showing excellent character and judgement.  Thank you for your service and I hope you continue to be a leader in our County.


The pip squeaks.

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