Del. Ken Plum: We Should Know Better

by Del. Ken Plum September 14, 2017 at 10:15 am 36 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

A Kentucky school administrator recently expressed sentiments that I feel but could not write as clearly as she did. In an op-ed piece in the Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader she wrote:

“Social justice, civil discourse, empathy, historical context and civic engagement are at the heart of preventing and resolving instances like the one we witnessed there (in Charlottesville). … If we subscribe to the belief that hate is a learned behavior, we must also take ownership for failing to provide an educational space to combat the inequality that haunts minorities every day and that paralyzes our nation in times of tragedy. … History matters. Civic engagement matters. And, because of their decline, social justice, civil discourse, and empathy have become lost arts in a nation of people who can no longer talk to one another.”

As a former teacher of history and government, I especially appreciated her call for “a strong social studies curriculum that provides equitable opportunities for civic engagement, civil discourse and historical context.”

The ignorance of history shown by those who have been leading the opposition to removing Confederate statues is appalling. The statues were erected during times when white supremacy efforts termed the “Lost Cause” were at their strongest. Beginning in the late 19th century there were many movements to glorify the Old South and to justify the Civil War, or the “War of Northern Aggression” as they called it, and the erection of statues was part of it. Paralleling those activities was the passage of legislation that virtually took away the right of African Americans to vote and that separated the races in public schools and most every aspect of society. The second surge of erecting statues came when the white supremacists were opposing the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s.

Viewed in their historic context, these statutes represented a repression of social justice, failure of civil discourse and lack of empathy on the part of those supporting them.

Equally as appalling is the lack of knowledge or the unwillingness to admit the central role that immigrants have played in our history. The history of the land we now call Virginia did not begin when the English arrived in 1607; a civilization existed here for at least 15,000 years before that time. That makes all of us except for Native Americans descendant of immigrants.

There is seldom a day that passes that I do not meet someone who may be brand new or first- or second-generation Americans who are making our communities, society and economy stronger and better. Many choose to ignore the history of immigrants especially most recently that of dependent children. They may be undocumented, but they are not “illegals” — people are not illegal.

Certainly, our immigration system needs work. Endless paperwork, complex bureaucracy and an entanglement of laws sometime stand in the way of people who should be given a path to citizenship that can be navigated. I thought that Richard Cohen, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, expressed it best when he said of the decision to rescind DACA that it was “one of the most senseless, heartless, inhumane acts of any president in recent memory.”

We should know better and certainly we must insist that all act better!

  • Mike M

    Mike M’s Guide to Ken Plum’s Hateful Dishonesty

    Language is the devils workshop and Ken follow’s the DNC’s guidance in camouflaging intent. How did Ken come to know of this article by a Kentucky school adminustraor. Because it was probably placed by the DNC.

    “Social Justice” = Income Redistribution + Racial Divisiveness

    “Civil Discourse” = Shouting Down the Opposition (calling them haters and racists)

    “Historical Context” = Revisionsist history that aims to erase historical figure from George Washington to Francis Scott Key to Robert E. Lee in a cheap ploy aimed at stoking racial divisiveness

    “Empathy”= Contsant desperate antics and statements to stoke a feeling of oppression and seperateness among minorities

    “Charlottesville” = A Press established touchstone for “empathy” despite the unreported fact that the leftists demonstrators outnumbered the Nazis about 5 to 1 and did not have a permit

    “Hate” = Any view that does not mesh with the DNC’s

    “History Matters” – A call to renew the effortss to rewrite history to suit the DNC’s agenda

    “Civic Engagement” = Enlistinf naive yound militants to attack people and property en masse at press attended events so they can sue the police afterwards

    “A nation of people who can’t talk to each other any more” = A nation that still has another party or parties

    “A strong social studies curriculum” = One that ignores European and Classical histry in favor of political narrative about opporession and the evils of capitalism and one that fails to boost US student scores on an international scale

    “Immigrants” = Legal immigrants + immigrants who came here illegally and run up our costs

    “Heartless” = Upholding sustainable policies

    “Native Americans” = The ultimate sob story and whipping post for the DNC (never mind that they were also immigrants and hateful of their neighbors)

    Some questions for Ken?

    1) Why does he never answer any of the challenges raised in Reston Now? He wants discourse, right? Right?
    2) Why do those statuses suddenly have to come down now? Ken is elderly. They have been around him (ALTHOUGH NOT in RESTON) his whole Virginia life.
    3) Why is Ken always crowing about issues that are not central to the concerns of Restonians of all races?

    • 40yearsinreston

      Because his re-election is ensured and he is a water carrier for those who facilitated it

  • The Constitutionalist

    “I thought that Richard Cohen, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, expressed it best when he said of the decision to rescind DACA that it was “one of the most senseless, heartless, inhumane acts of any president in recent memory.”
    We should know better and certainly we must insist that all act better!”

    Maybe so. But the signing of DACA is one of the most overreaching, illegal, and unconstitutional abuses of power by a president, ever.

    As a former teacher of government and history, perhaps you should do your part in educating your friends and colleagues about the separation of powers and executive authority. Instead, you would rather harbor hate and fling shade at your opposition and make it about racism and historical context and whatever other mumbo-jumbo will get you the most emotional reaction than make this issue about what it really is. An unconstitutional executive order.

    As the all-knowing god of the governmental process, as you generally spew about every other week or so, you should know that no one would be batting an eye about DACA if it was a constitutional ratification.

    It isn’t. Therefore, regardless of right or wrong, black, white, brown, or yellow, immigrant, domestic, Christian or Muslim, it is the President’s duty to rescind unconstitutional executive orders.

    When will you realize that it’s overwhelmingly clear what the American people want? Perhaps you should advocate for the immigration program of your favorite socialist country. Everyone, including you, loves to talk about how great Canada is for social rights, healthcare, whatever else, but you won’t mention their immigration laws.

    • Willie Reston

      “When will you realize that it’s overwhelmingly clear what the American people want?”

      It’s overwhelming clear the American people do not want Trump and his simple-minded policies.

      • Mike M

        Yeah, Willie. That’s how he got elected. No one voted for him but the Russians. Oh, and me!

        • Willie Reston

          Fewer Americans voted for Trump than Clinton — about 3 million Americans to be exact! Oh and he currently sports about a 38% approval rating. So it’s factually incorrect to state that Americans overwhelmingly want what Trump is serving.

          Oh but wait, you guys don’t care about no pesky facts! They’re difficult to comprehend sometimes and might make you uncomfortable.

          • Mike M

            Willie, the electoral process elected him. It was close in popular vote, and the process ran it’s legal course. Donald Trump is your President, feller. Please get over it. Accept it, Willie. It’s reality. Your side won’t always win. You won;t always get a trophy in the real world.

            As for “overwhelmingly,” no one said the words that you are trying to put in their mouth. Once again you are barking up a tree at imaginary leprechauns. Miller or Bud, Willie?

          • Willie Reston

            You and Snoopy ought to take a few reading comprehension courses. Constitutionalist said, “When will you realize that it’s overwhelmingly clear what the American people want?”. Well, I pointed out statistics which strongly imply that fewer than half of American people want Trump’s policies. “AMERICAN PEOPLE” being the operative term here, not electoral college voters, and certainly not area on a map like KingJAK embarrassingly believes to be more important.

            And yet you repeatedly accuse me of bringing nothing to these discussions, but I digress.

          • Mike M

            You spoke to “what Trump is serving” and “Trump and his simple-minded policies.” No one else was.

            The reading comprehension problem is yours. That comes as no surprise to anyone who has read your posts.

            Trump is your President. Grow up and deal with it. And still, you have no point other than you don’t like that Trump was elected your President. So sorry.

          • RestonAssurance

            Hey now, leprechaun was a derogatory term used for the Irish when they arrived here.

          • drb


          • TheKingJAK

            More people in NY and SoCal doesn’t equate to more of America. Hence why we have an Electoral College.

        • Voter

          And me.

          • Mike M

            And 30% of Libtown Reston.

      • The Constitutionalist

        Is it? Sorry I forgot that we didn’t elect him president. Overwhelmingly.

  • 40yearsinreston

    If Plum is so much for equality why does he persist in facilitating gerrymandering
    This bloviating missive is another example of his identity political strategy which keeps him in play

    • IllegallyLivingInReston

      Republicans have had control of VA since the late 90s. I get that you’re a dinosaur which means 20 years is nothing, but Plum hasn’t had much input there.

  • RestonAssurance

    I knew you three would have commented. My favorite conservatives, but that’s the beauty of our country and the opportunity to speak out!

    • drb

      Until the left takes complete control. Look at Canada and Britain that restrict speech as an example, all in the name of “hate speech”. The bible is even not allowed to be quoted in public if it is on issues of homosexuality.

  • I_give_up_on_this_clown

    I think what Ken meant to say was “9/11 Never Forget”.

    • TheKingJAK


  • I_give_up_on_this_clown

    Ken should take a trip down to Mexico and demand handouts from the government officials. After he is placed in a prison he can read this speech about how “people aren’t illegal” to the guards.

  • common sense

    Ken, how many generations are we allowed to go back to find an ancestor that was oppressed so we can claim to be a victim? Can we talk about how your crowd of free thinkers are defacing statues of Thomas Jefferson, Francis Scot Key, Columbus, and other monuments that have nothing to do with the “Lost Cause” movement? I think you should prove to us all that there is no such thing as an illegal person. Please sail a boat to another nation like Spain, France, whatever and try to live a normal life there without a visa and let us all know how it works out for you.

  • TheKingJAK

    It’s obvious that our illustrious delegate needs to retire.

    • 40yearsinreston

      That was obvious 20 years ago

  • RestonAssurance

    Umm, seems like driving a car into a crowd ISIS 2.0 style to murder people, as did the Klan sympathizer in Charlottesville, is the most violent you can get.

    • drb

      Yes, the left needs to disavow them.

      • Willie Reston

        You are absolutely delusional. And that’s not just Internet snark, you seriously are clinically delusional if you believe that white supremacists are left wing.

        • IllegallyLivingInReston

          Willie, you’re better off arguing with a wall than you are with the vocal right wing members of this board. You won’t convince them otherwise.

        • drb

          No, not at all. All these groups have at their base imposing their social and economical control through government which takes away individual freedoms and Liberty. The political right is the side of less government. It allows for the free market of goods, service and ideas. So while I don’t care for your totalitarian ideas I don’t force you with mine.

  • 40yearsinreston

    We should know better
    Thats why we won’t vote for Plum

  • RoadApples

    Delegate Plum:
    It is a simple proposition: If anyone is in the United States illegally; it is indeed against the Law.
    What is your problem with the Law?
    Are you proposing breaking the law?
    If so; can we break any laws we want in your disconboubulated opinion .
    If incorrent in my assessment; a response from you is appreciated.

  • OldButSlow

    You guys are hilarious. I tune in every week after Ken’s column to remind myself how unbelievably persecuted we white males of Christian background are. I mean, otherwise I might forget how horrible my life has been and is in this country. I might fail to recall how they’re all out to get me. Or something like that– I’m not really sure. Thanks for the weekly booster shot of misplaced resentment.

    • Mike M

      Can you speak to specific statements? Didn’t think so.

      I guess your are just another Lib trying to appear magnanimously self-flagellating. Seen it before. Sorry sight.

  • drb

    It was ol’ Ken telling us we should know our history. Yet he seems to always leave out the history of his people.
    As for the Klan and the other hate groups they seem to get publicity for their bigotry but it seems that it is convenient to not mention that they also wish to impose their left wing views socially and economically just like all the other left wing political groups.I dare say that Ken and the vast majority of Democrat politicians and even probably most Republican politicians are racists. It is a shame.
    As to the endorsement thing. Do you think an endorsement from people like them helps or hurts? Rhetorical question. Perhaps they feel a bit jilted since they have done so much of the heavy lifting for the Democrat Party. Much like Hillary did when she saved the Party by standing by her man.

  • Civil War

    Normally Ken is wrong but for once he is right.

    Nobody wants to listen though because he crushed the heart and soul of America by raising issue with white on white crime.



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