Del. Ken Plum: Shades of the Old South

by Del. Ken Plum October 19, 2017 at 11:30 am 44 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.

Just when you think things are changing you can be shocked to realize just how much they stay the same. Politics in Virginia are a prime example.

For more than a century after the Civil War, the consistent factor in politics was race-baiting. The then-called Democrats in the South, who later became known as Dixiecrats and today are the conservative wing of the Republican Party, were successful with a variety of laws that disenfranchised African Americans. Even with the few African Americans who could get through the labyrinth of laws that included blank-sheet registration forms, literacy tests and poll taxes, the scare tactic employed by too many candidates was to suggest that their opponent was a lover of black people — but using a derogatory term. That fear of black people has its roots back to the centuries where black people were enslaved and brutal enforcement and fear were used to keep them that way.

The Civil War did not resolve the feeling between blacks and whites, and slave codes were replaced with Jim Crow laws that whites could use to assert supremacy over black people. For a candidate to take a position that could be interpreted as being favorable to African Americans would mean almost certain defeat at the polls. Only Supreme Court decisions and federal laws like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act created a more level political playing field between the races. Continued efforts to suppress the votes of minorities and to unnecessarily complicate the voting process are still employed by some trying to maintain a structured society of white supremacy.

More recently, those who want to keep or expand their political power have swept immigrants — whatever their status — into the realm of those who are to be feared and suppressed from participating in the democratic process.

Many strive to gain maximum political advantage through whatever means while at the same time wanting to keep the appearance of respect and patriotism. The recent television ad with scary images and references to fear and the MS-13 gang intends to scare voters into rejecting a compassionate medical doctor with an ad that fact-checkers have found to be untruthful.

Another concern from the current campaign is the suggestion from a white female candidate for lieutenant governor that her black male opponent does not understand the issues well enough to discuss them “intelligently.” Disregarding the excellent academic credentials of her opponent, her comments had the tone of the past that one observer said seemed more appropriate for 1957 than 2017.

At the national level, there are daily statements and actions that hearken back to the racial climate of the Old South. This year in Virginia, we have a unique opportunity on Nov. 7 to make a statement with our votes that we reject the discrimination of the past. It is always important to vote, but it is more important than ever this year. Despite efforts to romanticize the Old South and the Confederacy, we need to learn the truth and understand why we need to move on.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Typical Plum identity politics article dressed up as history
    The election is NOT about racial divide nor the Old South,no matter how much Ken pushes it or tries to obfuscate the facts
    I will NOT be voting for him and will either withold my vote for his seat or write in an alternative

    • The Constitutionalist

      If you don’t write in an alternative that is almost the same as voting for him.

    • Mike M

      Vote for Mike M!

  • JohnSmoot

    Dems sticking to their race baiting narrative, what could go wrong?

    • Mike M

      Cough, cough, Trump, Trump, cough.

  • Anonymous Poster

    Well this is the most race baiting article i’ve ever read. Why does RN continue to publish this garbage?

    • 40yearsinreston

      RN is okay and providing a service
      Everyone recognizes that this is typical Plum throwing out red meat and scare tactics
      Judge him by his record

      • Heh

        Red meat? Nah, Democrats don’t go for that. “Plum throwing soy to his base” is more like it.

        • Mike M

          Shoveling fertilizer on mushrooms?

    • meh

      It’s OK, the official stance of Reston Now is that Delegate Plum is here to provide a service. And that you should ignore the fact that all they promote are left-leaning stories.

      If someone were to run against Plum and win they too would get a platform to speak on (doubtful)

      • KPHNHH

        Do you think if a Republican were elected, Reston Now would hand over the microphone they way they do with Ken? Or would the continue to post about left leaning rallies and washed up actors?

        • Willie Reston

          The former.

        • Meggers

          They would probably stop doing political commentary.

        • Mike M

          I believe the former. The dude is an elected official. You can refute him here.

  • Willie Reston

    Ha ha ha ha ha

  • Onereally

    ” Continued efforts to suppress the votes of minorities and to unnecessarily complicate the voting process are still employed by some trying to maintain a structured society of white supremacy.”

    Examples please….

    Asking for an ID to prove you are is white supremacy????

    Your vague jabs have no meaning without proof.

    • cRAzy

      Uh, gerrymandering, a highly used tactic in Virginia, for example.

      • drb

        By Democrats for all the times they were in the majority. Now they don’t like it. Imagine that.

        • Willie Reston



          • drb

            Nice try. But we all recognize your FAKE NEWS

  • Anonymous Person

    So I’ll readily admit I don’t follow that progression. It’s carted out quite a bit, but I think it’s a fair question: what changed? The modern day Democratic Party? The South? The modern day Republican Party?

    The best way I’ve seen it typified is the Republican party tends to be moored to certain ideals and standards, such as equality before the law or classical liberalism. The Democratic party tends to follow social mores, so that pre-Civil War, where social mores allowed slavery, then they followed, or today they are proponents of the LGBT movement.

    But I don’t get the hand-wavey “Oh now all the racists are Republicans now because of reasons” story. It’s nonsensical, there has to be some sort of progression or timeline, not just “I’m a Democrat and am not racist so I’m really a Lincoln Republican” or some such nonsense.

    • Willie Reston

      Southern conservatives (who once identified as Democrat) fled the party in favor of the GOP during the 1950’s-60’s, especially after Kennedy and Johnson pushed through the Civil Rights Act and Great Society initiatives. The Democratic Party knew they were going to lose the Southern white vote for generations because of these policies. Hmmm, why do you think that might be?

      This has all been very well documented.



      • The Constitutionalist

        It’s also been proven false many a time. Time for a lesson in the ease of using the internet to find sources that prove me right!


        • Willie Reston

          Did you even bother to read the page you linked to? It 100% confirms what I just said.

          • The Constitutionalist

            No. It doesn’t, it goes far far deeper into discussing the topic and possibilities than your barely beyond infantile understanding of it.

            It really doesn’t matter anyways. What matters is the votes. Before the ‘party switch’ Democrats always voted against (by majority) civil rights. After the ‘party switch’ Democrats always vote against (by majority) civil rights. Even today, because you know that whoever lives and eats from your plantation will vote for your party.

            Just count the votes for the Civil Rights Acts in the 1960s.

            You can attempt to revise history all you want, you can twist the narrative to make Republicans into racist Nazi crusaders, and you can whine and cry because no one is listening to your platform, but you just can’t change the truth.

          • Willie Reston

            Wow, a web page that appears to be at least 10,000 words long went more in depth than my two sentence summary? YOU DON’T SAY!!

            Now please, provide the excerpts from your link that refute what I posted above.

          • The Constitutionalist

            Thank you for admitting that YOU didn’t read the article. I’m not going to go through the article and find reasons to dispute your idiocy. If you feel like you’re looking for a challenge, attempt to read the whole thing. I know it will require plenty of breaks, about 1,000 if you have to take a break each 10 words (I know that’s a record for you). In the end you may learn something.

            On a different note:

            How does it feel to, quite literally, only lose to your betters (me)?

          • Willie Reston

            Unwilling to show how your own rebuttal didn’t backfire and support my argument. You are indeed one lazy troll! Go ahead, give me just one of those “reasons” you mention.

            LOL at saying you’re better than me. Your insecurity seeps through every single one of your posts right down to your insecure little username. Anyone who has to refer to one’s self as “The Constitutionalist” clearly deals only in absolutes and can’t handle any opposing arguments or nuance. In other words, you’re pure snowflake material.

          • Willie Reston

            BTW I read your little article, found only information which reaffirms my synopsis of what actually took place, and you’ve yet to provide anything to the contrary. You must be finding it very tiresome to try to dig up alternate facts in the face of true historical facts.

  • FactCheckingKen

    Thats not true at all. Maybe in Ken’s version of history it is, but in America’s version its false.

    • Willie Reston

      Are you contending that white Southerners did not make efforts to disenfranchise black voters during the Jim Crow era? Is that what you’re saying?

      • FactCheckingKen

        I am contending that white democrats did, Willie.

        • Willie Reston

          So then why did you say “it’s not true at all”?? You’re not making sense, FCK.

  • SuperCoop1280

    Since my question has yet to be answered (attempt #4), I’d be curious to know what Del. Plum’s thoughts are on the Board of Supervisors’ proposed population density increase in Reston. I totally get it is not an Assembly issue but as a resident of Fairfax County, I would like to think you have an opinion. Wouldn’t the massive population growth cause for more potential funds from the State for projects to ease overcrowded schools and roads? You talk about gun violence but what do you plan to do with a potential massive influx of new apartments in South Reston which is already a crime haven.

    I know it is not a fluff question, but where do you stand?

    Perhaps Reston Now might look into have a weekly or monthly feature asking these types of questions to our elected officials..

  • Bert W

    God, I don’t think I can take any more of this! The Civil War is over, Ken!

  • Reston Resident

    Not shades of the old South. Just shades of the old Ken. Stop the race baiting Ken. It’s old.

  • young country

    sorry to say but america doesnt have much history so you have to have at least five versions to keep everyone happy.

    flag has been hanging half mast for quite some time, maybe think. live and let live, otherwise civil war.

  • Meggers

    So, the recent murders and sexual assaults, in the area, perpetrated by illegal aliens and MS 13 gang members, to include the teenage muslim girl who was raped, beaten, and murdered, are okay with you, Ken Plum?? #KenPlum supports #SanctuaryCities!

  • Mike M

    Ken, lead us all. Stop trying to divide us. We all face the same real issues. When you constantly invoke race, you are by definition a racist.

  • Meggers

    “#USjoblessclaims drop to 44-year low AND #BlackAmericanunemployment is at 17 year low.. Very, Very DEPRESSING news for #DEMS. After-all the political strategy of Misery doesn’t work when Americans are gainfully employed, hopeful and happy.. For the rest of us.. Congrats my friends!!! .. our #Nation is becoming #GREAT again..


  • Meggers

    If you don’t want to play along with the 10th District’s hypocritical use of the race card, please support a candidate that cares about real issues!! Jeffery Dove Jr. for Congress, 10th District!

  • Trolling Down the Street in my

    I think its hilarious how easily triggered the majority of commenters here are when anything that would call attention to your own biases is published. At least you have your safe space in internet comments sections.

  • TheRealMikeSapupello

    Plum’s face-punchability index climbs each week…

  • Willie Reston

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