Local Commentary

Editorial: No State for Old Prejudices

It would be a terrible shame if, after a decade of progress in statewide elections for more progressive and inclusive values, the Commonwealth of Virginia next month were to take a reactionary lurch back toward its unsavory, intolerant past by electing the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate, Bob McDonnell, in three weeks.

We are alarmed by evidence from our own region of Northern Virginia that, barring a sharp change in local attitudes, this might happen.


There are ominous signs that too much apathy and disinterest in the one section of the commonwealth, this one, which has been decisive in four Democratic statewide elections since 2001 may doom the campaign of Dem gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds. From our point of view, every effort must be put into lighting some big fires on the behinds and in the bellies of this region’s citizens, in particular.

Virginia’s success in being ranked again this year as the best state in the nation for doing business would be placed in serious jeopardy if a right-wing anti-social-inclusion candidate takes over as governor. The high-tech industries that continue to pile into Northern Virginia will suddenly think twice about their ability to hire and retain the best talent in an environment of perceived prejudice and bigotry.

Nothing could kill a deal faster for a progressive high tech or industrial employer than to learn the state luring him just elected a protégé of right wing televangelist Pat Robertson, who has justified the contents of his law school thesis, written at age 34, calling women who work outside the home a detriment to society. He has a long record in the Virginia state legislature of voting against equal pay for women and for improved child care, in keeping with that philosophical view.

Not only are these kinds of policies hurtful to working families, as former Attorney General Mary Sue Terry and Falls Church’s State Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple spelled out to reporters in a telephone conference call Tuesday, but they’re hurtful to employers, too. In this economy, women and children need all the help they can get to help maintain the economic viability of the average household, and McDonnell’s record shows he’s no friend of that effort. Instead, he touts his eight years’ service on the board of Robertson’s Regent University, which has a policy asserting that “God instituted and defined the family as the primary civil institution of civil governance, designating a specific authority structure within the home,” derived from the Biblical admonition, “Wives, submit to your husbands.”

McDonnell’s latest revelation came in remarks to a Lynchburg newspaper’s editorial board Tuesday stating that if elected he would not renew an executive order by Virginia’s last two governors which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation for state job applicants.

It is a matter of considerable urgency that McDonnell lose on Nov. 3.