Rep. McEachin a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ on removing Confederate statues
1/24/2020, 6 a.m.
Re “McEachin, Wexton call for replacement of Lee statue in U.S. Capitol,” Free Press Dec. 26-28 edition:
There are three types of politicians. Some lead, some follow and some simply wait to see which way the political winds are blowing before jumping on board the bandwagon.
Such is the case with Congressman A. Donald McEachin of Richmond who recently called for the removal of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s statue from the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall.
During his 15 years as a member of the Virginia General Assembly, Rep. McEachin, never called for the statue of Gen. Lee to be removed from the State Capitol or for the image of Gen. Lee to be removed from the Richmond floodwall. Not once!
Further, in 2016 when then-mayoral candidate Joe Morrissey held a press conference in front of the Jefferson Davis statue on Monument Avenue
calling for its removal because President Davis, the leader of the Confederacy, was a supporter of the institution of slavery, Rep. McEachin was inexplicably silent.
I can only guess that was because the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue or Lee’s image from the floodwall wasn’t politically popular at the time.
Fast forward 31⁄2 years, and because the political winds now favor the removal of the statues Rep. McEachin is now on board.
Where was Rep. McEachin back in the day when it wasn’t popular to advocate for the removal of these types of statues?
Rep. McEachin appears to be a “Johnny-come- lately” who wets his fingertip, puts his finger in the air to assess which way the political winds are blowing, then acts accordingly.
In conclusion, real leaders — be they local, state, or federal — advocate for an issue that is not popular at the time (i.e. school desegregation, civil rights, stopping police brutality, equal pay and the Equal Rights Amendment, to name a few) and then bring others around to their way of thinking. I only wish Rep. McEachin was this type of leader.
KING SALIM KHALFANI
The writer is the policy and advocacy director of Nexus Services of Virginia.