The Virginia Democrat’s Conundrum

8 02 2019
Governor Northam, you need to resign!  And I hate saying that, because I like you.  I voted for you.  I canvassed and worked the polls for you.  I’m extremely grateful for the good you have done after just one year in office.  And, I believe you to be a good man.  
But you still need to resign.  And so do you Attorney General Herring.  It’s the ‘right thing’ for both of you to do.  You need to set an example, relinquish your privilege, and take a stand for an issue that you both claim to be extremely important.  
All the talk about Virginia’s “racist past” is a fallacy: not because Virginia does not have racist roots, but because the fruit of our racism is not confined to the past!  It still exists today!  And it is time for White people in positions of power to acknowledge this, and to model what it means to surrender our privilege.  
Part of the reason you both are where you are today is because of your Whiteness.  And that doesn’t mean you don’t have other gifts – gifts worthy of the titles that have been granted to you.  It simply means that in Virginia, for 400 years, the color of one’s skin has determined their caste.  And you guys are two of the lucky ones!  You’re White!  Acknowledging that, and truly being an ally with people of color, demands that whenever possible, you give up your privilege.  And know that’s hard, because the greater our privilege the more difficult to give it up.  But it’s the right thing to do!  
You’re also human – which means that you’re not perfect, and that like the rest of us, your past is full of errors in judgement and youthful indiscretions.  (My own indiscretions – “pieing” Georgetown University students, and adding a “President’s Office Building” sign to my dorm room decor – don’t seem to fall in the same category as “Blackface”, but that’s another matter!)  So I get your humanity, and I’m willing to forgive you for sins acknowledged and confessed.  However forgiveness does not mean that you do not bear responsibility for and the consequences of your actions. Further, when confessions come because one has been been ‘caught’, those confessions appear rather insincere and disingenuous.  They appear to be born more in a concern for one’s political future, than in a genuine spirit of repentance.  And to be honest, at this point in time, it is your political future that appear to be your greatest concern.  Which is why you need to resign.
But here’s the conundrum!  You’re not the only ones.  Lieutenant Governor Fairfax, you need to resign as well.  Racism is not the only sin that plagues our state and our nation: sexism haunts us as well.  And paternalism, gender bias, misogyny, and sexual misconduct also have consequences.  Sadly, President Trump and Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh have given us two of the worst and most offensive examples of how we are to deal with this evil.  One expected Americans to simply overlook the indiscretions and move beyond them – which too many Americans did!  And the other simply denied the sin and gaslighted many into believing that what we all knew to be true . . . was not!  So we need a better example.
Which is why, Justin, you too need to do the right thing and resign.  And therein lies the problem for Virginia Democrats.  The resignation of these three men means that the Speaker of the VA House of Delegates, Kirk Cox, a Republican, will become our next governor.  And while I don’t know anything about Speaker Cox, I would prefer to have a Democrat in Richmond’s Executive Mansion.  
But here’s why this is all ok.  1) Virginians will honor and respect the integrity of the examples set by Virginia Democrats. 2) When the 2021 elections roll around, Virginians will continue to reject the racism and misogyny of Donald Trump’s and Cory Stewart’s Republican Party, and the state will further deepen its blueish hue!  And 3) long-term, the values of the Democratic Party – liberty and justice for all: Red and Yellow, Black and White; Men AND women – will be advanced, and we will be known for who we really are: a party that rejects racism and stands with people of color, and that condemns sexual abuse and listens to the voices of the “Me too” movement.  
Sorry guys.  I like all three of you.  But that’s irrelevant!  The right thing for all of you to do is to resign.  And the sooner, the better!    

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