After a search, it was difficult to find anything that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has done that would arouse so much animosity towards him. So much so that his detractors called upon him to resign, literally within hours of a photo revelation allegedly to be Northam in either black face or in a Ku Klux Klan costume. However, when one remembers that we have a seriously divided and partisan electorate looking to find any way to miniaturize the competition, and with so many also eager to use the racial card to gain advantage, all begins to come into focus.
A current matter has demonstrated how ignitable the racial thing is. It came in a press conference with Gov.Ralph Northam, he providing his explanation for a photo determined to display racial overtones. He said in a prepared speech, followed by a Q and A session, that he does not believe the photograph in his 1984 medical school yearbook, depicting a person in black face alongside one in a KKK outfit, was him. “I am not either of those people in that photo” he told media at the executive mansion in Richmond last week. He views the photo as “shocking and horrific.”
He did confess to having won a dance contest in San Antonio in 1984, where he was stationed in the U.S. military after completing his medical school training. On that occasion, he won a competition by dressing up to imitate Michael Jackson, using a costume and shoe polish. He said he’d made mistakes and lives up to them, having grown with age and maturity. He repeated multiple times how sorry he was to cause people upset but he won’t resign.
During the last week, Northam has been repeatedly encouraged to leave his gubernatorial position, these demands coming at him from left and right, although his Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, while admitting he was shaken by the photo, has not abandoned Northam as also old friends and acquaintances have stood by him. Other Democrats have used proverbial jackboots to trounce him: They are suspected in part at least to be motivated by the Oval Office prize.
Those Democrats running for president were joined by a crowd of African-Americans, including the Reverend Al Sharpton. Sharpton, a man whose own critics say of him that he’s to blame for the deterioration of U.S. race relations. He and others who’ve risen through the ranks to “stardom” have declared outrage over Northam while their statements are not always free of hypocrisy.
What bothers me about Northam is that he has been clean throughout his 59 years. I wonder how many of those “throwing stones” could make that statement and stand the test of scrutiny. Further, Northam is a family guy with a wife of 32 years and a son and daughter. He has no record of any call girl coming forward to report a payoff to keep quiet, an Access Hollywood tape, or committed a crime of any kind.
His apologies come across as honest and sincere. He’s pained at knowing he may inadvertently have hurt people. Many people jumping all over Northam claim virtue by their Christian faith and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Yet, all that holier-than-thou stuff is tossed overboard when they cannot accept a man professing his innocence and kindly asking for it to be recognized. Apparently, their ambition for power, fame and riches has blinded them.
(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion frequently in the Keizertimes.)