White supremacy is apparently turning into a new normal, with racists trying to portray themselves as the victims of political correctness and a new social reality.
Case in point: A former co-chair for President Donald Trump’s Virginia campaign and current gubernatorial candidate is raising eyebrows after delivering a controversial speech on the legacy of his state, declaring the Confederate flag his “heritage” and promising to embrace it.
“Over my dead body when I'm governor of Virginia are we ever going to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson or any hero of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Corey Stewart told the crowd amid loud cheers and applause at the “Old South Ball” in Danville. “That is our heritage. It is what makes us Virginia… If you take that away, we lose our identity.”
His words, particularly his emphasis on protecting Virginia’s heritage, seem to be in line with the rhetoric adopted by white nationalists, who claim white supremacy is more about fighting white extinction and protecting their legacy than it is about asserting white dominance over other communities.
Moreover, as the Think Progress reports, Stewart has aligned himself with the alt-right — a far-right group that sparked controversy with its “Heil Trump” chants last year.
“I’m proud to be next to the Confederate flag. That flag is not about racism, folks, it’s not about hatred, it’s not about slavery,” the candidate for governor concluded to several calls of "amen." “It’s time that we stop running away from our heritage. It’s time that we embrace our heritage, we embrace our history, and we take back Virginia.”
During the rally, Stewart not only slammed the Democrats, but also Republicans who have top positions in the government, as they are the ones who don’t openly support the white nationalist agenda.
The removal of Confederate flags from state houses and other government buildings has been a hot button issue for quite a while — and contrary to what the Virginian Republican has been trying to convince his supporters, the flag is a symbol of racism, slavery and hate.
“The flag, which was resurrected in the middle of the 20th century as a symbol of opposition to the growing civil rights movement, hearkens back to a war fought to perpetuate slavery and as a means of provoking fear and terror into people whose ancestors had been previously enslaved,” explained Dennis Parker, the director of ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. “It is a symbol of oppression and inequality. No attempts to mask it with discussions about heritage can obscure the reality that the Confederate flag is a symptom of the diseases of hatred and discrimination.”