Our beloved state of Kansas occasionally finds itself in some embarrassing national news stories, usually because the otherwise outstanding religious and business communities got a bit overzealous, but for now Virginia is the butt of all the late night comedy show jokes. Virginia’s an excellent state full of excellent people, and has played an outsized role in American history since the days of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, although it’s political leadership at the moment isn’t quite up to those high standards.
Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam has been facing widespread calls for his resignation ever since a right-wing web site unearthed a photo from his personal page in a medical school yearbook depicting a white person in blackface standing next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood. Northam immediately apologized for such insensitivity, then implausibly denied he was either of the men in the picture he’d chose for his yearbook, and talked about the time he did do partial blackface in a dance contest, and none of it halted the calls for his resignation from both the left and right.
The calls were especially loud from the more race-conscious segments of the left, of course, and they didn’t mind defenestrating a Democratic governor who had beat a Republican who’d run on keeping all the Confederate monuments in Virginia, in part because he would be succeeded by naturally black Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax. Unfortunately, Fairfax was then accused of a 2004 sexual assault, and then the accuser stepped forward by name, and given that the Democratic party has the same zero tolerance for sexual abuse charges that it does for allegations of racism, that was awkward. The woman is as impeccably respectable and credible an accuser as was the woman who came forward with allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, and she’s got the same lawyer, and Fairfax has hired the same lawyer who represented Kavanaugh, and that further complicates things for the Democrats, and to a lesser extent for those Republicans who would defend Kavanaugh and damn Fairfax.
Next in the order of Virginia’s Democratic elected officials is Attorney General Mark Herring, but on Wednesday he confessed that he’d donned blackface at party back in ’80.
None of this is likely to redound to the benefit of what’s left of Virginia’s Republican, which did run its last gubernatorial election on an uncomfortably neo-Confederate platform, but it’s not doing the Democrats any good. Virginia’s an excellent state full of excellent people, so we’re sure they’ll work it out eventually, but in the meantime we’ll take some Kansas pride in the fact that none of our high elected officials stand accused of blackface or sexual assault, and is out of the national news.
— Bud Norman