The plate honors the Sons of Confederate Veterans, they of the Confederate History Month debacle, in case you had forgotten. It was at their behest that the Governor issued his benighted proclamation in the first place, and after Mr. McDonnell walked back that particular piece of bad press, the Sons of Confederate Veterans blasted him for backing off the original proclamation. Of course, they didn't get their facts exactly right.
The Virginia Division of the SCV was not pleased with McDonnell's reversal. In a lengthy statement, it commended McDonnell for issuing the Confederate History Month proclamation, but "absolutely refute[d] the claim that Confederate soldiers went to the field of battle for the sole purpose of preserving slavery as an intellectually dishonest argument." (In fact, McDonnell does not say that the Civil War was fought only over slavery.) - Southern Poverty Law CenterYes, this is the group that called for the original proclamation, without reference to slavery. And when the slavery acknowledgments were added later, they were so angry about it that they issued a lengthy statement filled with factual errors condemning the Governor!
The SCV, as they are known, purports to be a heritage group, and a heritage group they may have been, but in the course of a series of elections within the organization over the past ten years, a number of unreformed, neo-confederate white supremacists were elected to national leadership. These SCV leaders just so happen to also be members of organizations dedicated to white supremacy, modern-day seccession and reconstitution of the Confederacy.
Remember the Confederacy?
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, 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. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth. - Alexander Stephens, Vice-President of the CSAAccording to the membership of the SCV, leaders who want to return to the Confederacy are worth supporting and re-electing. Something to think about.
The SCV is allowed to have the Confederate battle flag on a Virginia plate because they won a court case in 2001. This case, and the original plate designation, happened before the white supremacists took over the SCV, however. It is past time for Virginia to revisit this honor and withdraw this plate from circulation. Let the SCV sue again if it comes to that, our Attorney General has no qualms defending crazy positions, after all.
But hey, what's buying a plate when we simply re-elect a local SCV officer as our Delegate every two years anyway. For all our neighborliness, tacit bigotry can lie under the surface, even here, even now.