So quick we are to judge. Who needs facts or details? One blip ,one bump and your career in over. When my children were growing up, I would tell them its not what your say, its what you do.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was young when he took a picture in Blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan costume. Both pictures are offensive to this blackman. As difficult as its seems, there are people who are racially tone deaf, even in 2019. Usually individuals who live in mono,environments ( Megan Kelly comes to mind ) because these individuals have limited contact with people outside their communities, they are often shocked when they are called insensitive or racist, because they work with people of color.
There is a difference between working and socializing and this is where I struggle with the Governor, who graduated from a predominately black high school. He reportedly has strong personal ties with blacks in Virginia. So the picture is not only a shock to the black citizens of the state, but a surprise to his black friends.
As a flawed human being I try not to rush to judgement. Throughout my life as a flawed human being, I have made some poor decisions in my youth and as an adult. When he took the picture nearly 35 years ago, he wasn’t thinking about the impact that picture might have on his personal and professional career.
The Picture ,was published February 1, 2019 on the website Big League Politics . Big League Politics was founded by former Breitbart News Employees and is considered a far right wing conservative website.
Is the picture a representation of who is Governor Northam is?
In Virginia’s 2017 Gubernatorial election, Ralph Northam received an estimated 87% of the black vote, 67% of the Latino Vote and 61% of the women’s vote. He was supported by many groups notably the Latino Victory Fund and Planned Parenthood and support by many black political organizations, most are now asking the Governor to resign.
The Governor supports a $15.00 minimum wage and is against a state constitutional amendment enshrining right to work legislation. That would allow employees in unionized workplaces are banned from negotiating contracts which require all members who benefit from the union contract to contribute to the costs of union representation.
Northam “has called for phasing out the grocery tax on low-income people and ending business taxes in struggling rural areas.
The Governor as a record of supporting Abortion rights, ( Planned Parenthood supported him in his election campaign) He is against a bill called the Repeal Act that would allow third trimester abortions to be performed if a single physician determines that there is any physical or mental health risk to the mother. Currently, Virginia law only allows third-trimester abortions to be performed in the state if three physicians determine that continued pregnancy would be “substantially and irremediably” harmful to a woman’s health. This bill is supported by many Republicans and may be a topic in the 2020 Presidential Campaign.
Northam has proposed making it free for students to pursue a community college education or apprenticeship in a high-demand field (such as cyber security and early childhood education under the condition that they commit to a year of paid public service. He opposes public funding for private schools. (wiki)
In February 2017, Northam cast a tie-breaking vote in the state Senate against a bill to ban sanctuary cities in Virginia
In Washington Post, Article Titled “Anger and sadness as African Americans in Virginia consider Northam’s fate”
In conversations at churches, salons and coffee shops, African Americans disagreed about whether Northam must resign, but all voiced a sense of betrayal. In public office, Northam worked to expand Medicaid, the health program that serves the poor, and he helped to restore voting rights for felons, a policy that helps many black men. Many in the black community saw him as an ally, and as one of the good guys.
It’s a real slap in the face. You pretend to be my friend, and you’re really not,” said Thomas Parham Jr., as he arrived for worship Sunday at the historic Alfred Street Baptist Church in Old Town Alexandria. It’s one thing, he said, to encounter a racist public official. It’s almost worse when it’s someone perceived to be an ally. “I’d rather know where you stand.”
The Democratic Party Image
What is disconcerting about this controversy. is the Democratic tidal wave against this Governor. Not based on his record, or actions or public statements but a silly misguided picture taken when he was in medical school.
Governor Northam is no Steve King the Congressman from Iowa. Who, for more than thirteen years has on record said:
“Mixing culture will not lead to higher quality of life but a lower one.
He wanted to make English the official language of Iowa.
He sued Iowa for posting voting information on an official website in Spanish, Laotian, Bosnian and Vietnamese.
King suggested shocking (via electricity) immigrants who climbed the wall.its successful in containing livestock
One the house floor, he said Profiling was an important component of law enforcement.
Suggested paying for the border wall with federal dollars coming from welfare, food stamps and Planned Parenthood
January 2019: Steve King was stripped from all committee assignments after bipartisan condemnation of his remarks on white supremacy (A theme of his for the last 10 years)
From my chair in the balcony, the Democrats want to demonstrate they unlike ,the GOP they walk the talk. I am reminded of Minnesota Senator Al Frankel who admitted and apologized to sexual misconduct when he was a citizen in 2006, his apology was accepted. However when other anonymous woman came forward. he denied the accusations. Members of his party demanded he resign without a full hearing.
In his resignation speech he made comparisons to Republican politicians, saying he was “aware of the irony” that President Trump remained in office despite the comments Trump made in the Access Hollywood tape released a month before his election, and that the Republican Party supported Roy Moore‘s Senate campaign despite the many allegations of harassment and molestation against Moore (wiki)
Self Inflected Wound
Governor Northam may have been flying solo (without council) when the news broke Friday Afternoon. A good publicist would have advised and prepared him before appearing on camera. However, as bad as Friday was, Saturday was a tsunami of bad press.
On Friday, he was almost there. He apologized for the pictures and went on to say “I recognize that it will take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused. I am ready to do that important work”. Someone, from his office might have spoken to the press, touting his record, his reputation with the black community and the suspicious timing of the picture,
Over night, they may have linked release of the picture to the date of his comment regarding his position on the Repeal Act and reminded the press of his reputation.
But that didn’t happen! Flying solo, taking a page out of Donald Trumps playbook. He said, that may not be me? and like the 45th President of the United States, he was unable to stop himself. He admitted, “Blackfacing” in the past AS Michael Jackson. A talent contest that he WON, after practicing the moon walk!
The “State” of Virginia
Should the Governor resign, the Democratic Lieutenant Governor, Justin Fairfax would become the Governor.
Sunday, February 3, Patrick Howley of the conservative website Big League Politics . reported Vanessa Tyson, a professor of politics at Scripps College, said she was sexually assaulted in 2004 by a campaign staffer who was now up for a “VERY BIG promotion” in Democratic politics. Howley, who was also the first to obtain the Northam yearbook photo, noted that Fairfax was a campaign staffer for presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and that he was now poised to become governor of Virginia.
It is reported, she brought her 2004 story to the Washington Post and another media outlet. Both outlets investigated the story and found no corroboration and did not publish the story.
In the State of Virginia, if the Lieutenant Governor is ineligible, it would fall to the Attorney General, Mark Herring a Democrat. If he for any reason can’t serve,it would fall to the Speaker of the House of Delegates would be next in line to take the role. The Virginia House is currently controlled by Republicans and Speaker Kirk Cox would be the interim governor.
Slow Down The Train……
The Democratic Party and the citizens on Virginia, should slow the train down. Dont solely judge the Governor on this picture. Judge is life from there forward. What has he said? What has he done? Then look hard at the coincident via Big League Politics before rushing to judgement.
Wouldn’t you want someone to judge you on your complete body of work rather than one picture or a single incident.?