Sometimes, things just aren't the way they seem. The name "Marshall" is a fine, old Virginia one. It's the name of the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the man who established judicial review in the case of Marbury v Madison. Driving down old Route 55 in Fauquier County, you can still see the beautiful old home of Chief Justice John Marshall, not far from the small town which bears his name.
Next-door to Fauquier County, sits Prince William County, our hipper, more upbeat and cosmopolitan neighbour. Prince William, home to Manassas, was the place to go when I was in high school and Fauquier County was Hicksville. There were multi-screen cinemas and Manassas Mall where we'd all hang out on a Saturday. Prince William people were just that much more urbane and savvy than their country cousins in Fauquier.
Enter Bob Marshall, long-time member of the Virginia House of Delegates. Even though, I daresay this Bob used his surname freely when campaigning the first time around - name recognition, you see - Bob Marshall is not one of those Marshalls. Like the other Bob in the Statehouse, Bob Marshall is a Carpetbagger, but that's not all he is.
Bob Marshall is the face of ultra-conservatism in the Virginia Republican Party.
Earlier this week, when the Republican-controlled House of Delegates rejected the judicial nomination of openly-gay prosecutor Tracy Thorne-Begland, the Commonwealth was on display for all in the nation to see as the last bastion of bigotry and general dumb-assedness.
Ne'mind that this gentleman had broad bipartisan support, the Speaker of the House pulled a scurvy trick and called for the vote at 1AM in the morning, when several delegates had gone home, insuring a defeat for this nomination.
And leading the charge was Bob Marshall.
Bob Marshall also led the charge for what was essentially legalised rape for women wanting abortions.
Ever since 2009, and more specifically, ever since last year when people decided not to get up off their asses and go to the polls in the state elections, ever since we let the damned Republican weasels into the Democratic chicken coop - that's right, I said chicken coop - we've had to sit by and see this merry band of scrubbed-up crackers, mean girls rejected by sororities and Carpetbaggers just chip, chip, chip away at Virginians inherent rights and make us the laughing-stock of the nation.
And I say that as a livelong Democrat and tenth-generation Virginian who got all her liberal thinking and ideas from her Virginian parents, her Virginian public schools and the University of Virginia.
People who matter in the Commonwealth see this act for exactly what it was, as stated by Thorne-Begland's boss, Commonwealth's Attorney Michael N Herring:-
It is hard to think about what happened at the General Assembly and not conclude that it is a form of bigotry. It causes people around the country to question Virginia's ability to be tolerant and to be inclusive.I'll say it does.
It might interest - or frighten - Luddites like Bob Marshall to know that support for same-sex marriage in the Commonwealth is on the rise. In a poll conducted by The Washington Post last year, 47% of Virginians favoured same-sex marriage, whilst 43% were against it, with 10% having no opinion at all. I'll bet, with the President's recent remarks, that approval figure has risen.
And in light of the embarrassing brouhaha that erupted around the invasive ultrasound controversy earlier in the year, many high-ranking and virulently anti-gay Republican politicians in the Commonwealth, are walking away from Marshall and his ilk in this instance - people like Governor Fawn-and-Cringe, himself, Bob "I-Wanna-Be-Vice-President" McDonnell, as Rachel Maddow brilliantly pointed out in an on-air editorial on Tuesday night.
Following suit, other Carpetbagging Virginia politicos, Jersey Shore transplant and Obamacare warrior, Ken Cuccinelli, and Lt Governor Bill "West-Virginia-used-to-be-part-of-Virginia-I-wanna-be-Governor-too" Bolling made hefty distances from this decision, so much so, that it was difficult to identify who emanated the biggest stinks - the cowards in the House of Delegates or the cowards who were formerly rabid homophobes, themselves. Echoing
But, that didn't stop the other Bob, Bob Marshall, from expostulating his antiquated views of the situation in an interview on CNN, which is surely to become infamously embarrassing for Virginia and Virginians:-
From the moment this idiot brought sodomy as a civil right into the argument, anyone with a smidgeon of common sense just knows every known prejudice comes into play with this man when having to consider the appointment of any openly gay person to any position within the State government. He's a homophobe, purely and simply; and like any homophobe, he's got to back his prejudice up with a reference to religion:
When I was in public school, we all went through a ritual. I know you may find it strange, that said keep us from temptation. This was because we said the Lord’s Prayer. Nobody – nobody should go where they’ll be tempted. That includes me, that includes you, that includes a prospective judge.
Well, that was before Madeleine Murray O'Hare reminded the Supreme Court of separation of Church and State, with an emphasis on schools being a secular instrument of the State.
It should also come as no surprise to me that the Virginia Code still bans sodomy.
Bob Marshall represents urbane, cosmopolitan Prince William County.
Rather than leave you with ugly thoughts about a man best suited to the 1850s Know-Nothings, I'll leave you with a nicer and more uplifting image, from Signal Mountain, just in back of my home in Fauquier County - a lovely black bear, much nicer than Bob Marshall or his gang of thugs operating out of Richmond.