On Tuesday, July 30th, the Virginia General Assembly hosted a Special Joint Session in Jamestown, Virginia to commemorate the 400th Anniversary of the first legislative body to operate in the New World. The featured guest was the President of the United States – Donald J Trump. This ceremony was supposed to be a non-partisan celebration of Virginia’s rich history and the foundational beginnings of what would one day become the United States of America.
For the most part, all of the goals were accomplished. We had dignitaries from throughout the world in attendance; however, some of Virginia’s own elected officials unwisely decided to play partisan politics and “boycott” because President Trump was to be in attendance. There are certain special occasions when politics should always be checked at the door, and this was most definitely one of them!
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam did initially invite the President, but he felt compelled to kick-off the early ceremony and then “boycott” the President’s speech. You would think that a Governor who is embroiled in his own racist scandals would be more than willing to look like a leader of all of Virginia. The same for Attorney General Mark Herring. Only the Lt. Governor, Justin Fairfax, had the common sense and maturity to recognize that this ceremony is greater than partisan politics. This is about being a Virginian.
Numerous Democrat Members of the General Assembly boycotted the event. Every Republican Member attended.
Folks, let me stop right here. When Barak Obama was President, you did not see the Republicans boycott “official” events where the President was in attendance just because they disagreed with his politics. This is called “behaving like adults”.
While the actions of some Democrats were troubling, the worst failure of decorum was committed by freshman Democrat Delegate Ibraheem Samirah of Fairfax (86th District). He attended the ceremony and during the President’s remarks, he jumped out of his chair and unveiled three signs as a form of protest. Fortunately, the Capitol Police escorted him out immediately. Delegate Samirah was in violation of the House of Delegates Rules of Decorum. Both Democrats and Republicans were appalled by his juvenile actions and lack of respect. This IS NOT the Virginia way.
Ironically, after the ceremony concluded, Delegate Samirah was gloating to a reporter and then complained when he was interrupted by Republican Senator Bill Carrico of Bristol. Senator Carrico told Delegate Samirah he was an embarrassment to this state and should have stayed home if he were not happy with the President. It seems like Delegate Samirah lives in a glass house. He is not a great representative of the Democratic Party. According to bigleaguepolitics.com, he has posted on social media in the past saying “that giving money to Israel is worse than giving money to the Ku Klux Klan and wished for the late Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to burn.” If he is reflective of the New Democratic Party, then all of us are in big trouble.
At the end of the day, there is a time and place to protest. We are a Republic (not a democracy) and freedom of speech is ingrained in the fabric of our great Nation, including the Commonwealth of Virginia. That said, if our elected leaders cannot learn to respect each other, how can our fellow Americans be expected to do the same?