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What happened in Virginia and why it matters

Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin speaks with Virginia Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Winsome Sears during an election night event at the Westfields Marriott Washington Dulles on November 02, 2021, in Chantilly, Virginia. Virginians went to the polls Tuesday to vote in the gubernatorial race that pits Youngkin against Democratic gubernatorial candidate, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. |

The Virginia governor’s race was widely predicted to be a harbinger furnishing insight into where the American electorate currently is and where it might be trending 12 months before all House members and a third of the Senate campaign for reelection in the 2022 midterm elections.

The election results this past Tuesday certainly seem to have lived up to, or even exceeded, those expectations. Some are calling Virginia ground zero for a potential political earthquake.

To say that things are “unsettled” in the American electorate is to engage in understatement — not hyperbole. For example, 58% of American voters now describe themselves as “unaffiliated,” declining to identify as Republican or Democrat. For the first time since the Civil War, only a minority of American voters identify as either Republican or Democrat. This remarkable fact guarantees volatility in the electorate — currently a majority of voters are “up for grabs” in each and every election.

This volatility was on full display Tuesday night in Virginia. Republican Glenn Youngkin won by increasing the Republican vote from 2020 in every county in the state. He won 13% of the black vote and received slightly more than half the Hispanic vote.

The Democrat candidate, Terry McAuliffe, made the mistake of saying what he, and the leadership of the Democratic Party, really believe. He asserted that parents should have no say in what their children are taught in public schools. Is it merely ironic, or is it hypocrisy, that Mr. McAuliffe’s children went to private schools? This assertion caused a firestorm when made in a public debate.

Then, having painted himself into a corner, McAuliffe, a close Clinton confidant for more than two decades, while visiting a Virginia public school, observed that since 50% of the students were black and 80% of the teachers were white, that disparity had to be ameliorated. He did not specify how this was to be done, but it seemed to many voters that the “solution” would inevitably involve dismissing white teachers just because they were white. That is racism.

Mr. Youngkin’s campaign caught fire (his name recognition was at 3% just 12 months ago) when it became clear he was going to listen to outraged and anguished parents who were protesting the controversial things their children were being taught about race and gender.

In spite of the ongoing denials by Mr. McAuliffe and the mainstream media, it is true that critical race theory (CRT) is being taught in the Virginia public schools down to the earliest elementary school grades.

I must admit I enjoyed watching Fox’s Juan Williams state that CRT was not being taught in Virginia schools, only to have Fox’s Kayleigh McEnany produce visible, undeniable proof from Virginia’s state curriculum guide from 2015 with instructions “to embrace Critical Race Theory” and how to implement CRT in the state’s public schools.

The mainstream print and electronic media are either in denial, or they are lying when they say that protests against CRT are racist “dog whistles” and that CRT opponents do not want their white children taught about slavery and America’s racist past.

One is always in a dilemma when faced with a situation like this. You don’t know whether to hope that they’re lying, which is morally culpable, but can be remedied by confession, or are they cognitively challenged, which is not morally culpable but is harder to fix.

It is simply not true that CRT is not embedded in Virginia’s public school curriculum. Parents do not protest their children being taught America’s past, warts and all.

What they do protest is CRT being used to indoctrinate their children to see everything through the prism of race and telling them that all whites need to “acknowledge” their “white privilege,” which divides everyone into two classes, either oppressors (white) or the oppressed (non-whites), and dismisses America as irretrievably and systemically racist.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice explained that she wanted black children to feel good about themselves, but not at the expense of making white children feel bad about themselves.

As The Federalist’s Delano Squires explained, “We honor God when we acknowledge all members of the human race have equal worth. We dishonor Him when we ascribe certain sins to people based on skin color.” Mr. Squires, who is himself black, tartly described CRT as “white liberals seeking absolution for crimes they did not commit and black liberals seeking empathy for injustices they did not endure.”

Governor-elect Youngkin illustrated one major reason he was elected in the speech he delivered at his final campaign rally in Loudoun County on election eve. Concerning our history, he acknowledged we have some “dark and abhorrent chapters” and that “we must teach them all. We can’t know where we’re going unless we know where we come from.”

Using language and expressing the thoughts that millions of Americans far beyond Virginia have been longing to hear from their political leaders:

“But let me be clear…What we don’t do…is teach our children to view everything through a lens of race, where we divide them into buckets; one group’s an oppressor and another group’s a victim; and we pit them against each other and we steal their dreams. We will not be a commonwealth of dream-stealers. We will be a commonwealth of dream-enablers and builders….We’re all created equal, and we’re trying so hard to live up to those immortal words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, who implored us to be better than we are; to judge one another based on the content of our character and not the color of our skin.”

It is also instructive that the same electorate that elected Mr. Youngkin also elected a black Republican Lieutenant Governor, Winsome Sears (a native Jamaican and naturalized citizen) as the first black woman elected to statewide office in Virginia. Additionally, these Virginian so-called “racists” also elected Jason Miyares as attorney general, making him the first Hispanic to be elected to statewide office in Virginia.

Lt. Gov.-elect Winsome Sears, who also served in the U.S. Marine Corps, in her acceptance speech said, “There are some who want to divide us, and we must not let that happen. They would like us to believe we are back in 1963. ... In case you haven’t noticed, I am black and I have been all my life.”

She declared that she was the embodiment of the “American dream.”  I agree, and I believe Dr. King would as well. The dream still lives, thank God!

Dr. Richard Land, BA (Princeton, magna cum laude); D.Phil. (Oxford); Th.M (New Orleans Seminary). Dr. Land served as President of Southern Evangelical Seminary from July 2013 until July 2021. Upon his retirement, he was honored as President Emeritus and he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor of Theology & Ethics. Dr. Land previously served as President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) where he was also honored as President Emeritus upon his retirement. Dr. Land has also served as an Executive Editor and columnist for The Christian Post since 2011.

Dr. Land explores many timely and critical topics in his daily radio feature, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” and in his weekly column for CP.

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