Home Waynesboro: The vice mayor vote, the swastikas on the mural, are part of a pattern

Waynesboro: The vice mayor vote, the swastikas on the mural, are part of a pattern

Chris Graham
(© Gary L Hider – stock.adobe.com)

Waynesboro City Council elects as its vice mayor a MAGA Republican who joked about a man attacking a Democrat with a hammer.

Vandals paint swastikas on a mural of a Black father and daughter of the Waynesboro YMCA.

And we’re supposed to pretend that these two acts, done a week apart, aren’t consistent with each other.

“There is no place for that in our town,” said Jim Wood, the new vice mayor, the guy who echoes Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen, who voiced support for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists, who thinks it’s funny that a man broke into the home of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to try to attack her, and broke her husband’s skull with a hammer.

The swastikas story elicited comment from city leaders at last night’s City Council meeting.

There was Wood trying to distance himself from the swastikas, which were discovered on the YMCA mural on Monday morning, with his “no place for that in our town” platitude, and then the new mayor, Lana Williams, who said city leaders “want to foster a community where all citizens feel safe and respected.”

Hollow words from a group that has made it clear where it stands.

It was a 4-1 vote of City Council last week that gave Wood the ceremonial title of vice mayor, signaling that four of our five elected leaders are solidly behind his tinfoil-hat conspiracy theories, support for the Trump-directed effort to overthrow democracy and endorsement of violent assaults on political opponents.

But now they want us to believe that, while all that other stuff is OK, the swastikas on a mural at the Y, that’s going over the line.

It’s the chickens coming home to roost, is what it is.

There were already dumb racist complaints about the mural when it went up in 2020, people without a racist bone in their body, but an overload of racist brain matter, raising issue with what they assumed was the Y playing into Black Lives Matter woke-ness.

Census.gov tells us that Waynesboro is 11.5 percent Black, and 7.5 percent biracial. The Y’s executive director, Jeff Fife, feels the mural “speaks to the inclusive mission of our organization.”

People who have issues with inclusiveness caucus under the same tent as the folks who think the 2020 election was stolen, whose problem with Jan. 6 was that it didn’t go far enough, who would hit Nancy Pelosi in the head with a hammer themselves if given half a chance.

That the swastikas showed up on the Y mural a week after City Council put its backing behind Jim Wood as the new vice mayor isn’t a coincidence.

People who feel threatened by a more representative Waynesboro all the sudden feel that they have the local government on their side.

The swastikas are just Act I.


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Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].