Embattled Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been in constant meetings with his aides and his cabinet members over the past 24 hours. He is attempting to determine if they will support him in the face of the revelation his medical school yearbook page included a photo of a man in blackface and another in KKK robes and hood.
They have all said they will not, and yet, according to CNN, Governor Northam says he is not going to resign and be known as “a racist for life.”
“Northam said that the only way he can clear his name is to stay in office and convince people that he is not in that photo and that the photo does not represent who he is.”
An anonymous source who participated in Northam’s cabinet meeting late Monday night said:
“We are struggling here, there is no better way to put it. We all love the governor.”
“We don’t think he has a racist bone in his body — but he can’t seem to explain this, and it is making it very difficult for us to stick by him.”
Insiders say that Northam is just not ready to resign. He still doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and it would be an injustice if he is forced from office. He reportedly told his staff members that he is looking for a way forward.
Nearly the entire Democratic Party — nationally and in Virginia — has said Northam should resign. And of course Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and other Republicans are piling on and gleefully condemning the Democratic governor.
Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who is African American, has also been caught up in the controversy. His position has been that Northam “should do what is in the best interests of the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Governor Northam is in a very difficult situation, but what he should do is not clear cut. After former Minnesota Senator Al Franken was forced to resign due to an old photograph which appeared to show sexual misconduct, many people believe that a better course might have been for him to remain in the Senate and fight the charges against him.
It is doubtful that Northam is really a racist, and he should be judged by his positions and his policies, not by a questionable photograph taken decades ago which may not even be of him.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.