Ralph Northam probably cannot withstand the tide that has so dramatically turned against him. A picture in his medical school year book from 1984 is clearly racist. Northam admits he was in the photo. He just does not acknowledge whether he was the klansman or the man in blackface. He has apologized.
I continue to believe that society is headed down a terrible, dangerous path when we destroy people’s lives and careers for things that happened that long ago. Northam has apologized and, to my knowledge, has not operated in a racist fashion in his political career. Let’s not kid ourselves — you knew in the eighties that you shouldn’t do stuff like that. It’s crazy that his medical school would have let that slide as well. But it was thirty-five years ago and Northam has been in elected office for a decade with no accusations of racism.
Society’s increasing refusal to show any grace to anyone on the public stage is rapidly stripping away all incentives to ever improve or apologize for bad conduct. If one cannot apologize and move on or prove through character growth that one is a better person than they were a decade or more ago, there really is no point in trying to improve.
Northam should not resign for this picture. He should resign because he supports infanticide. Frankly, part of me thinks the rush to push Northam out of the political spotlight would not be nearly as ferocious as it is if he had not defended infanticide. Democrats have, for the past forty-eight hours, been challenged on his statements and asked if they support his statements. Most feigned ignorance of his statements. But Northam doubled down on them then suggested we all misunderstood.
Northam should resign for that.
If he has behaved as a racist in his political career, I am unaware of it, but doing so obviously means he should resign. However, no one is talking about his behavior, just his picture from thirty-five years ago. And in so doing, everyone gets to ignore he advocates for infanticide in the here and now.