Friday, February 01, 2019

What Would Kirsten Gillibrand Do?

So how do we handle discovering that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's 1984 medical school yearbook contains a racist picture of him? (He's apologized, of course.) It should be noted that if a Republican had done this 35 years ago they would brush it off as nothing. But since Northam is a Democrat who supports legislation that would ease restrictions on late-term abortions in his state, they're pretending to be upset about the photo -- which Dems actually are but for the right reasons.

Resigning is the obvious thing to do. But I can see an argument for either side. If he resigns, it is poetic that the lieutenant governor is an African-American man, who would succeed him.

As far as staying goes, I guess the only thing I would say is shouldn't the point of evolving or atoning for your past sins be some form of forgiveness? Should we still hate Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for being homophobic because they didn't initially support marriage equality? Or should we be supportive of them for evolving? Michael Ertel, Florida's secretary of state, did recently resign when it was revealed he dressed as a "Katrina Victim" for Halloween 2005 -- immediately after the catastrophe that claimed more than 1,200 lives. 

But the most notable difference between the two incidents is that Ertel continues to operate in a way consistent with his past transgression, having been appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, about whom his recent gubernatorial opponent said: "The racists believe he's a racist."  Northam is a reliable Democrat who has worked to fight the GOP war on women, backed marriage equality in 2015 and has a decent record on a host of other issues. Should a lifetime of good work be erased by a horrific but non-violent act in your 20s? One other thing I should say is I don’t know a lot about the Southern experience. But the one thing I do know — and is the reason I want little to with “the South” — is that white men from there invariably have disturbing relationships when it comes to guns, Confederate memorabilia and race overall. All you have to do is look at polling data from the 2016 election -- everything is spelled out for you district by district. (Hence why New York state, for example, is blue, but if you go to certain upstate districts you see we have our own racists.) I’d love to hear that this is changing. Perhaps this can be the learning lesson we’ve been waiting for, but somehow I doubt it.


Knock me over with a feather!


It’s all a moot point now — time to resign. He now pulls a Shaggy while also admitting to usyblack shoe polish on his skin for a Michael Jackson dance contest — and Jackson isn’t even black.


VictorG said...

Douglas Wilder was the first elected African-American governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1990-1994. Regarding the current governor, all I can say is as long is there is a racist, homophobic, misogynistic, lying traitor in the White House, Democrats should be focusing on that problem and stop ripping each other apart, which is exactly what the traitorous GOP wants.

Myk said...

Peer pressure can be a strong incentive to conform. But I believe people are able to grow - to evolve. I believe Governor Northam has. I'm willing to trust him to serve all Virginians.

James Dwight Williamson said...

Is there some way to muzzle your moron , blonde senator? Her only accomplishment goading good male politicians of her own party to resign!

northalabama said...

kenneth, i'm disappointed in both your ignorance of, and prejudice against, southerners, clearly demonstrated with you comment in this post.

new york city currently has the most segregated schools in the country, and yet you choose to stereotype others and point fingers, rather than deal with the growing mess in your own backyard - shameful.

when you can find an example of any state in this country without guns, racism and bigotry, we'll have a conversation, but until then, stop falling back into lazy and tired clich├ęs.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

@northalabama: Blatant racism has declined since the Civil Rights movement. But the 2016 election was like spraying Luminol on a cleaned-up crime scene, and the map clearly shows where racism is still a bigger problem than in other places.

I'm from Michigan, which has gone blue for decades. But when it flipped it did not surprise me at all because I know what's "on the ground" -- and it's not one of the states that still flies Confederate flags at its statehouse.

northalabama said...

racism is "better" when it isn't blatant? while confederate flags are racist, lack of them is a sign of it's absence?

while much of the south are red states, there are far redder states in the midwest, spanning from canada to mexico. doug jones was not elected to the alabama senate by racists, and alabama maintained at least one democratic branch of state government until 20 years ago.

again, lazy and tired stereotypes - the racism you see today is not a holdover from slavery and the civil war, but a resurgence that's infecting rural america nationwide, in california, oregon, washington state, and, yes, even new york - you're allowing your own prejudice blind you to the bigger issue, to everyone's detriment.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...

I'm not following what you're saying -- no one said one form is "better" than another (huh?). But I am agreeing with you that there is a direct correlation between Trump voters and racism ... and those voters are all over the country.

What I haven't seen in the states that aren't in the South is this recurring blackface crap and the fetishization of the Confederacy -- save for Trump idol Steve King -- both of which are holdovers from the Civil War.

Are you really trying to say with a straight face that racism is equal in the Northeast to Alabama?

northalabama said...

yes, there is, and with the gop in general - the difference in voting electorate for gop & dem voters between many red and blue states is a 60-40 split verses 50-50, a gap that unfortunately has recently widened from 55-45.

take a look at a map of the last two elections by precinct nationwide, and you'll find a lot more blue in alabama, georgia, tennessee, Kentucky, and florida, than in oklahoma, nebraska, kansas, wyoming, or the dakotas.

i know this is a hit below the belt, but never forget: trump was born and raised in new york city, not mississippi.

Kenneth M. Walsh said...


jaragon said...

I wonder if all these people who want this man to resign don't have at least one questionable photo in their past? We all do dumb things when we are young.

Rix said...

I VA wants to recall their Gov. I believe they still have that option till Dec 31. It should be up to them.

Didn't she start the ball rolling on Al Franken too? Both seem(ed) more like a way to remove a potential rival than actual righteous indignation.

Franken would by the top potential candidate for 202) if he had stuck to his seat, unless his constituents chose to remove him.

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