‘What’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making…’
(Liberty Headlines) West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice and Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. on Tuesday urged rural Virginia counties outraged over the Old Dominion’s recent radicalization to secede and join a neighboring state where Democrats aren’t in charge.
Both Justice, a Republican in a state where the GOP dominates the legislature, and Falwell, whose university is in Lynchburg, Virginia, said the invitation to join West Virginia sends a valid message in the wake of recent uprising against racist Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam‘s widely publicized assault on Second Amendment rights and other Draconian legislative measures.
“If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere where you may be,” said Justice, who’s running for reelection. “We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment and we stand strongly for the unborn.”
Despite a rally last week that drew thousands of gun-rights protestors to the Virginia capital of Richmond, Northam and his newly blue legislature proceeded to enact several of the items on their gun-grabbing agenda.
Adding insult to injury, Northam—who, prior to last year’s notorious yearbook scandal, had already drawn controversy for appearing to advocate post-birth infant abortions—also led Democrats in the state to symbolically pass the controversial Equal Rights Amendment.
Although the measure expired nearly 40 years ago, if Democrats were to regain control of the White House, they likely would attempt to force the pro-abortion amendment into the Constitution.
Amid a flood of outside cash from billionaire megadonors and far-left interest groups, Democrats took full control of the Virginia statehouse in November for the first time in a generation.
Their agenda—much of it culled from a laundry list of demands that activists delivered to Northam in return for allowing him to remain in office—sparked a conservative backlash in the former red state.
“What’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making,” Falwell said. “Democratic leaders in Richmond, through their elitism and radicalism, have left a nearly unrecognizable state in their wake.”
Lawmakers in West Virginia have introduced formal resolutions inviting parts of Virginia to join their state.
One resolution, which reiterated an open invitation to Northern Virginia’s Frederick County, was discussed by county leaders, but seemed to gain little traction.
The other casts a wider net to all Virginia’s counties, saying the “government at Richmond now seeks to place intolerable restraints upon the rights guaranteed under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
“We saw their way of life under attack and we wanted to offer assistance,” said Del. Gary Howell, a West Virginia Republican who sponsored one of the resolutions.
The resolution drew deliberate parallels to West Virginia’s own departure from the commonwealth in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, when the two regions were sharply divided over questions such as slavery and Virginia’s secession from the Union.
Virginia lawmakers on both sides of the aisle nonetheless derided the modern-day effort.
“What are they doing, a comedy routine?” said Republican Sen. Emmett Hanger.
“Preposterous,” said Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, a Democrat. Saslaw added that Justice should be focused on solving West Virginia’s high poverty rate and “not screw around in Virginia.”
A spokeswoman for Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam dismissed the idea, saying “As always, Jerry Falwell’s words speak for themselves.”
The process by which such a breakup could occur is murky, but Falwell said lawyers have told him counties in Virginia would first need to conduct petition drives. Then a referendum would be held, and if successful, the proposal would go before Virginia’s General Assembly.
Rick Boyer, a Virginia conservative activist attorney and former local elected official, is helping with the so-called “Vexit” push. He said a growing movement of conservative Virginians is serious about leaving a state that he said doesn’t respect their rights.
“This isn’t street theater, we fully intend to do everything we can to see it through,” Boyer said.
University of Virginia law professor Richard Schragger, whose work includes a focus on the intersection of constitutional law and local government law, said the move would require the consent of both states and Congress.
“It’s certainly a long shot,” he said.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press