On Sunday, Fox News’ Chris Wallace did something that got Rep. Steve King removed from his committees.
King asked a New York Times reporter, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” Just that question got the Iowa lawmaker in trouble.
Wallace decided to ask his talk panel if embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam should be judged by “one mistake” from his past. Wallace was speaking about a photo that surfaced showing Northam allegedly dressed in blackface. On Friday night, a conservative website published the photo found on Northam’s medical yearbook page.
Northam has since claimed the picture wasn’t him and that he wasn’t going to resign from office as many Democrat leaders have been asking him to do.
“Hateful as that photograph from 1984 is, and there’s no question it is hateful, it was 35 years ago, and this Governor does have a pretty good record of reaching out to African-Americans, he has been a member of an African-American church. Is it just impossible, in the year 2019, to even consider whether you should judge a person’s whole life of work against one terrible mistake?”
The image in question is inexcusable. Nothing in American history is more odious than the KKK. The strong social stigma against white supremacists, anti-black terrorism and the dehumanization of African Americans are among the triumphs of the past decades of the 20th century. Our charge is to conserve it, for the sake of justice and the viability of a diverse nation.
The newness of what we’re conserving is underscored by the fact that it wasn’t 1864, 1924, or 1954 when the photograph in question appeared in a yearbook. It was 1984.
He should resign the governorship in a way that powerfully reaffirms the stigma against white supremacy. That’s the best way that he can serve the commonwealth right now.
Later, if he regains the trust of Virginians, he can run again for some other office. If never reelected, he wasn’t indispensable.
His other problem is he did not handle his apology & answer about it all very well.