Yes, I know, there are lots of folks out there who would immediately proclaim Robert E. Lee as Virginia’s
Man Person of the Year for 1861… without giving the question further thought. Yet, I think that identifies a problem.
Personally, I think the question merits further thought.
What, exactly, would make someone a “person of the year”? Would a consideration be, perhaps, that person’s demonstrated effort at preventing war, yet while remaining distinctively Virginian? Would the person be evaluated strictly on personal allegiance and/or adherence to personal principles? Does he/she have to be a warrior? A politician? Do we look only at people who had some bearing on the decisions that took place leading up to Virginia’s decision on secession? Why shouldn’t we give thought to people other than Lee? Perhaps you find something favorable with Letcher, Wise, Baldwin, Janney, Stuart, Lewis, Gray, Botts, Strother or… someone else. Perhaps there’s even some who would say that Ruffin should be considered.
Who did Virginia and Virginians a service? A disservice?
Perhaps I should open the floor to nominations, with explanation as to why YOU, the reader, would vote for a particular person. Remember, it’s just for 1861. Keep in mind, the people I named above are just a few names that come to mind on the fly. Certainly, there are more who might be considered. It doesn’t have to be a man. Perhaps there’s a woman (Van Lew?), or perhaps an African-American who comes to mind.
Once (and if) I get enough nominations (accompanied by explanation… in 90 words or less… as to why), I’ll post a voting option on the blog.
Please give it some thought, and get back to me.
*… yes, you see Strother’s name in the above list, and, while I use his image often in my profiles on FaceBook and Twitter, I’m not convinced yet that he is a real contender for Virginia’s Person of the Year for 1861.
** this post was, in part, inspired by a tweet made today by the Museum of the Confederacy.