By Donald V. Watkins
©Copyrighted and Published on February 2, 2019
Yesterday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam confessed on video and in a written press statement that he was one of two men depicted in a photograph on his medical school yearbook page. One of the men posed in blackface and the other one dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia.
The men depicted in the photograph were not portraying characters in a play or movie. These men self-selected a permanent image of how they wanted to be remembered by their peers in medical school and by the larger world.
Understandably, Ralph Northam would not say whether he was the man in blackface or the one in KKK regalia. Both images in the photograph are equally racist and inexcusable for a 25-year-old medical student.
During his confession in the court of public opinion, Northam apologized for posing in this racially offensive photograph. It is noteworthy that Northam’s confession was not the result of coercion or police brutality. It was freely and voluntarily given when Northam had a guilty conscience.
Widespread calls for Northam’s resignation quickly followed Friday’s public confession of inappropriate behavior. If Northam resigns, Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax, who is African-American, will succeed him as governor.
This afternoon, Ralph Northam withdrew his public confession. He is now denying that he is one of the two men in the racist 1984 photograph. He has offered no credible explanation for making his confession on Friday and withdrawing this confession on Saturday.
It appears that racism has invaded Northam’s confession and contrition process. The 1984 incident was bad enough on a stand-alone basis. Northam’s public confession on Friday was a noble step towards redemption.
Obviously, someone intervened after Northam's confession on Friday and convinced the governor that his resignation would elevate Fairfax to the governorship and give Fairfax a potential 7-year reign as Virginia’s chief executive officer. Northam bought into the course of action to deny Fairfax the opportunity to finish his term in office as governor.
To justify blocking Fairfax’s ascension to the governorship, Northam had to (a) withdraw his Friday confession, (b) lie today about his 1984 actions and (c) disclaim his presence in the racist yearbook photograph. This course of action constitutes the birth of a cover-up, which is worse than posing in the photograph.
Posing in the photograph was a dumb error in judgment. Lying is a deliberate intentional act of deception.
We now know that Ralph Shearer Northam was a racist in 1984; he is a racist today; and he will lie with impunity to further his tainted political career. What is more, his pathetic political and racial drama is unfolding as America celebrates Black History Month in February.
PHOTO: Virginia Governor Ralph Shearer Northam, a politician tainted by a racist past and entangled in a deceptive cover-up.