Tag Archives: Ralph Northam

Are some offenses beyond forgiving?

REGINA, Saskatchewan — The word in Canada is that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blew it when he appeared in what has been called “brownface” back when he was a much younger man.

You’ve seen the pictures. He is posing with others while wearing what looks like some sort of Arabic costume. He is slathered in dark skin makeup. He’s got a big ol’ grin on his face. The picture just surfaced, but it has taken Canada by storm.

This story is giving me fits as I watch it unfold.

Trudeau, who is facing a tough re-election fight, has offered a full-throated apology. There was none of that “if I offended anyone” non-apology crap you hear from politicians on occasion. The man said he is sorry. He is ashamed of himself. He is ashamed of his conduct. He said he meant no racist intent when he did it.

Has the public accepted the apology? Hardly. I have watched the news and heard from Canadians — particularly those of color — say, in effect, that what Trudeau did in the 1980s is unforgivable. No apology is good enough. No expression of contrition is sufficient.

Is it fair to condemn someone for appearing at a party dressed in such a manner? Is it fair to hold a 47-year-old accountable for his actions as a much younger individual? I truly am torn by this.

Is this different than a similar scandal involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who had a picture taken of himself in black face standing alongside someone wearing what looks like a Ku Klux Klan outfit? Yes. It is. Moreover, Northam’s apology did not seem to go quite as far in its sincerity that Trudeau’s has gone.

You may spare me any epithets you might hurl at me for being sympathetic to a racist politician. I do not believe Prime Minister Trudeau fits that bill. I do believe the young man made a serious mistake that has seen the light of day.

He also has delivered what sounds to my ears like a sincere apology.

The issue now lies in the hands of Canada’s voters.

Good luck, neighbors. I’m glad I do not have to make that decision. We’ve got our own political weirdness.

It goes from real bad to hideous in Virginia

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam should resign his office.

He reportedly has told his staff he isn’t going to quit, despite the existence of some ghastly, racist photos that appeared on his medical school yearbook page.

The Democratic governor cannot possibly govern his state, given the hideous publicity that has engulfed him.

Oh, but it gets a whole lot worse for residents of one of our 50 states.

A second woman has now accused the lieutenant governor, Justin Fairfax, of sexual assault. Fairfax already has denied the accusation leveled by the first woman who has made a similar allegation. Now comes a second one.

Do you want some more? Try this: The Virginia attorney general, Mark Herring, has admitted to wearing black face in the 1980s.

There you have it. The top three men in the state’s government hierarchy — all Democrats — now have been linked to (a) racist behavior and (b) sexual misconduct of the first order.

Hey, this matters to all Americans, not just Virginians. The racial element lifts the Northam and Herring controversies directly onto the nation stage. As for Fairfax, the #MeToo movement gives that story added national impetus.

I will stand by my original view that Northam needs to quit. He cannot possibly govern the state. The yearbook photo of the guy in the black face standing next to another individual dressed in a Ku Klux Klan getup is on the page with Ralph Northam’s name on it. He expects the public to believe he didn’t know about it? That he didn’t learn of the picture only until this past week, 35 years after the publication of the yearbook?

Is this guy serious?

Virginia, you have a serious problem.

Virginia: It’s for political discomfort

They say that “Virginia is for lovers,” which is a slogan the state uses to market itself to the rest of the world.

These days, though, the state is taking on a whole new definition. It’s now a place where the highest echelon of the state’s government is squirming in extreme discomfort.

Gov. Ralph Northam is facing an enormous amount of pressure to resign after a picture surfaced on his medical school yearbook page showing two men, one of them in black face, the other in a Ku Klux Klan outfit. Northam’s name is on the page. He at first apologized for the photo, then said he wasn’t either of the men depicted in it and has resisted demands that he quit the governor’s office.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the next in line for the top job in Richmond, has accused of sexual assault by a woman who said he raped her in a hotel room in 2004. Fairfax said the encounter was “consensual,” and has denied doing anything wrong. He’s also issued a type of apology for an act he said he didn’t commit. Go figure.

Attorney General Mark Herring, the next in line for the governor’s office after Fairfax, now reportedly appeared in black face in the 1980s, igniting yet another firestorm in the Virginia statehouse. Herring admitted to wearing black makeup to look like a rapper.

All three of these fellows are facing pressure to quit. They’re all Democrats. The next individual in line to take the top job, if all of them quit — as they likely should do — is the speaker of the Virginia House of Representatives. He’s a Republican.

It goes without saying that the balance of power in a significant “swing state” that has become vital to presidential candidates is teetering on the brink of a major shift.

Does all of this matter to a national audience? You bet it does! We’re talking about race relations and in the age of the #MeToo movement, any reference to sexual assault or harassment lifts it onto the national stage.

Oh . . . brother!

To think that Texas politics has been called a “contact sport.” In Virginia, it has become a “collision sport.” 

Weren’t the editors on the job at Northam’s school?

I want to discuss briefly a back story related to the Ralph Northam scandal that is still boiling in Virginia.

You’ve heard about it, yes? Gov. Northam, a Democrat, has tried to explain away why his medical school page — with his name on it — contains a picture of two men, one of whom is in black face, the other is dressed in a Ku Klux Klan get up.

Northam’s first response was to apologize for the picture and to take responsibility for posing as one of the two men pictured. Then he backed away, saying he wasn’t in the picture. He then said he won’t resign, which his entire Democratic Party apparatus in Virginia is demanding that he do.

The back story? Why did the publishers of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook allow the picture onto its pages? Wasn’t anyone at the school paying attention to this hideous image?

It occurred in 1984, for crying out loud! It wasn’t 1924, or 1934. It was in an era when we supposedly had traveled many miles from the hatred and bigotry exemplified by black face portrayals and the terrorism inflicted on American citizens by the KKK.

Northam said he didn’t buy the yearbook. He didn’t see the picture until just the other day. He didn’t know the photo of the black face guy and the KKK dude were on his page until just now, 35 years later?

I believe Northam should resign.

I also believe the publisher and the editors associated with the med school yearbook need to be held accountable for allowing that hideous image to appear in the publication in the first place.

As for the governor’s assertion that he didn’t know of the photo’s existence until just now, I don’t believe that for an instant either.

This is a hideous story that needs to be explored in meticulous detail.

First things first, though. Get out of office, Gov. Northam.

Gov. Northam on his way out? More than likely

Don’t hold me to this, but here is what I think is likely to happen with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: He says he won’t quit, but it will be impossible for him to govern the commonwealth . . . which means he’ll resign.

The Democratic governor has been caught in a hideous racial scandal. A picture on his page inside the 1984 yearbook from the Eastern Virginia Medical School shows two men: one is in black face, the other is wearing a Ku Klux Klan getup. Northam at first apologized for the harm he caused by appearing in that picture. Then he said he didn’t appear in the photograph and said he wouldn’t quit the governor’s office.

Northam’s denial didn’t go over well. Democrats in Virginia are hollering for him to resign. So are Republicans.

The way I see it way over here in Texas is that this matter is playing out the way scandals such as this usually do. The individual caught up in it stands his or her ground. The subject is defiant, vowing to fight the fight.

Then it becomes obvious that the individual cannot shake off the ill will, cannot do his or her job, cannot function under the oath taken.

Virginia lawmakers, of course, have another option: impeachment. You can bet your last greenback that the subject is being discussed openly in Richmond, the state capital.

Were it not for the racial element of this scandal, a controversy such as this should be no one’s business except for those who reside in Virginia. That’s not the case here. This matter resonates around the country, even in far away places such as Texas.

Gov. Northam is limited to a single term under state law. I doubt seriously he’ll walk out of office with his head held high.

Oh, and then there’s this ‘infanticide’ matter

While the nation gnashes its teeth over Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s alleged posing in a racist picture that appeared in his medical school yearbook, there this other matter.

Northam went on a radio talk show and appeared to suggest that “infanticide” is an acceptable medical practice if it is done a woman who gives birth consults with physicians, clergy and her spouse.

Wow! I cannot stomach the idea of anyone failing to condemn such an act.

At issue is whether a third-trimester abortion should occur while the mother is “dilating,” and “ready to give birth.”

Northam, whose other day job is as a physician, has uttered a disgusting and disgraceful policy view.

Those of us who are “pro-choice” but “anti-abortion” should be repulsed in the extreme.

Virginia story becomes a national story

Under normal circumstances, a story about a statewide politician getting caught posing — allegedly — in a hideously racist picture would matter only to the voters of that state.

Except these aren’t “normal” times. Social media have this way of elevating every ostensibly local issue into something far larger.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has made a dramatic U-turn in light of a growing controversy in his home state.

A picture surfaced in Northam’s medical school yearbook — on a page with his name on it! — that shows two men, one in black face and the other in a Ku Klux Klan get-up. Northam at first admitted he was one of the young men in the picture. Then he denied it. Calls for his resignation have bombarded his office. He had a press conference today and said he wouldn’t quit.

Why is this a national story? Because (a) it happened in Virginia, which is a “swing state” in presidential elections, (b) we watched a race riot erupt in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 and (c) Americans always are interested in race-related issues.

Northam needs to quit. He won’t, for now.

That this happened while he was in medical school makes this issue a disqualifier for Gov. Northam. He wasn’t some dumba** eighth-grader doing something typically stupid, as eighth-grade boys are prone to do. The 1984 yearbook pegs Northam at 25 years of age; moreover, he was a medical school student, a grown man.

He said today he didn’t see the picture until Friday, which to my ears stretches credulity. Northam said he never bought a copy of the yearbook. Yet he wants us to believe that for 35 years no one — not a classmate, friend or family member — ever brought it to his attention?

This story isn’t going to evaporate any time soon, it appears to me. Many of us still have Charlottesville so fresh in our minds. The KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed with counter protesters; one young woman was killed in the melee.

Now comes this latest matter involving the state’s governor, for criminy sakes!

It isn’t just a Virginia story. The nation has a stake in it, too.

Virginia Gov. Northam still needs to resign

Well . . . that didn’t go as well as Ralph Northam thought it should.

The embattled Democratic Virginia governor stood before the nation this afternoon and said the racist picture that appeared on his medical school yearbook page — the one with his name on it — does not include a picture of himself.

One of the young men in the picture is slathered in black face makeup; the other guy is dressed in a Ku Klux Klan get-up, complete with hood and mask.

The calls for Northam to resign have been coming like a torrent. Democrats want him out, as do Republicans.

Yeah, he needs to resign.

Northam said he didn’t even know of the picture’s existence until Friday. Someone showed it to him. He said he was horrified. Northam said he never purchased a yearbook back when it was published — in 1984! Thus, he said he didn’t have reason to see it, let alone know that it contained the picture on his medical school yearbook page.

Northam’s initial apology Friday night contained an acknowledgment that he likely was one of the two young men pictured. Then today he sought walk that back, saying that upon reflection he has decided that he is neither the guy in black face or the idiot in the KKK regalia.

Even more astounding is that he did admit to smearing black stuff on his face, also in 1984, to participate in a Michael Jackson dance contest, when he wore an MJ outfit complete with the glove on his right hand. He said something about learning how to “moonwalk.” Good grief! Didn’t this man, a medical student in his mid-20s at the time not know that blackface is offensive to African-Americans?

Why must this individual resign? That’s an easy one. His tenure as governor will now be overwhelmed by discussion of this hideous event. Northam cannot govern the Commonwealth of Virginia. Every single thing he says and does from this moment forward will be juxtaposed with the horrendous image that appeared in the yearbook. He cannot explain it away.

African-American leaders want him out. Politicians of all stripes have demanded his resignation.

How does this guy continue to govern given all that has been said? He doesn’t. Step aside, Gov. Northam. Hand the office over to your state’s lieutenant governor.