By Johnita P. Due
Updated 8:12 AM ET, Tue August 15, 2017
Johnita Due: Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe was mistaken to refer to Thomas Jefferson in such adoring terms. Jefferson, like many Founding Fathers, played a role in seeding white supremacy in this country, writes Due
Johnita P. Due is vice president and assistant general counsel for CNN. The opinions expressed in this commentary are hers.
(CNN) “I have a message to all the white supremacists and the Nazis who came into Charlottesville today. Our message is plain and simple: Go home,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “You are not wanted in this great Commonwealth. … You pretend that you are patriots, but you are anything but a patriot.”
McAuliffe was saying many of the things we needed to hear, and the black man standing behind him in the white “Menace II Supremacy” shirt was nodding emphatically.
“You want to talk about patriots, talk about Thomas Jefferson and George Washington who brought our country together,” he added. The man in the t-shirt, who I later learned was Charlottesville Vice Mayor Wes Bellamy, stopped nodding
About 0:24 in the video above.
, maybe coincidentally, but I felt punched in the stomach.
At a time when it is important to condemn white nationalists and supremacists unequivocally, invoking Thomas Jefferson is a mistake.
Blow them up? Or would it be racist to leave them standing and just rename them after, say, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?