Lewis Morris / July 30, 2019

Politicizing Jamestown at 400

As the nation marks its first settlement, Democrats are (still) playing politics.

Today, July 30, is the 400th anniversary of the first meeting of the Virginia General Assembly, the first instance of representative democracy in the New World. Known at the time as the House of Burgesses, that elected body was put in place to help run the English colony of Jamestown, which was having a tough time becoming a viable revenue source for the British crown in 1619.

Jamestown was founded in 1607 after King James I granted a charter to the Virginia Company of London. The goal was to gain a foothold in North America where the Spanish and the French were already establishing colonies and trade routes. Trouble with the natives, inability to adapt to the climate and prepare for winters, and poor management of available resources drove Jamestown to the brink of failure. Disease and starvation thinned the ranks considerably, but the British government and the Virginia Company were intent on making their investment work.

They set upon the idea of establishing a local government that would be more responsive to the colonists without making them totally reliant on the mother country, which was several weeks away by ship. Voters in each of Jamestown’s four provinces and seven plantations elected two burgesses to represent them. Along with these 22 assembly members were six additional members chosen by the company. They met for the first time on July 30, 1619.

That we have the opportunity to recognize 400 years of uninterrupted representative government is an impressive feat that should be honored by every lover of Liberty. But the modern Democrat Party, which does not fall under that category, is making a mockery of these monumental proceedings by pushing its own agenda.

Several Virginia Democrats recently railed against President Donald Trump attending the anniversary proceedings. Why? According to a statement by state Democrat leaders, “The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world.” They have threatened to boycott any events at which Trump is present. Former Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe further clarified their whine with, “Racists and white nationalists have no place in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

First, Jamestown was not a democracy (conservatives need to take back that word), and second, by boycotting, Democrats are inadvertently keeping the actual racists from attending. Score another one for Trump.

The hypocrisy of this stance by Virginia Democrats is enough to stain one’s cheeks with tears. None of these people have boycotted any Jamestown events with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam or Attorney General Mark Herring, both of whom have admitted to wearing blackface in the past. These admissions would have cost both men their jobs were it not for the fact that they would have been replaced by Republicans. When that became evident, the scandal melted away and the Dems silenced their guns. Northam or Herring went on with their jobs as if nothing had happened. This fight provides insight into the rationale of the Left, which is that all Republicans are racists, and all racists are Republicans. No one else fits this description.

It was Northam who extended the invitation to Trump in the first place almost a full year ago. But that fact, like Northam and Herring’s own racism, at least as defined by Democrats, is conveniently absent from this latest row involving the president. Inviting the president of the United States to such event should be standard procedure, and should the president attend, then the event should take place free from the current politics of the moment.

Democrats are not capable of divorcing politics from their duty as elected officials. They also don’t really have any respect for the country or its republican institutions, which is why they are willing to potentially slander the Jamestown proceedings for their own political gain, short term though it may be.


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