I am struggling. I honestly don’t know what the fate of Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia should be. I’m pretty sure what the ultimate outcome will be. The decision will be political. There will be such a storm in such a politically important state and at such a politically important time that Democrats surely will either force him to decide that he can not govern effectively and resign or they will tell him they will not lift a finger to prevent his impeachment. That’s the politics of it. Maybe that’s right, or not but I’d bet on the outcome.
What though is the ethics of it? Redemption is an integral part of the Judeo-Christian ethic. Being born again, confessing to one’s priest and making amends to G-d, partaking in the solemn Holy week from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kipur all say that man, imperfect as he is, can be saved from himself and his deeds through faith and acts. This is a virtually absolute set of concepts but in this case, to make them easier to swallow, we are not talking about someone who raped or murdered or burned down a house with people in it or lynched someone. We are talking about someone 25 years old who 30 years ago did something really stupid. And that act isn’t even the one in question, the shoe polish addition to his Michael Jackson act.
If the Governor is telling the truth and that’is not him in those pictures and if it turns out that the students and advisors compounded their stupidity of publishing such a picture and it turns out theyt put it on the wrong page, does he still become the sacrificial lamb and sent off into the desert?
The Bible doesn’t say, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t through stones” principally because people didn’t live in glass houses then. However, the idea of who is judging whom down here on earth is one to be looked at. Right now a lot of people who are judging Governor Northam must have taken the mirrors down from the walls in their houses. I cite you one example, The Rev. Al Sharpton. The year was 1987, three years after the now infamous, racist picture was published in the medical school yearbook, and the issue was Tawana Brawley.
Let me refresh your memory. Ms. Brawley, a 15-year-old African American female claimed she was raped, assaulted, smeared with feces, tied into a garbage bag and thrown into a dumpster. The place was Wappinger Falls in upstate New York. To her defense and offense rode a young African American activist trying to punch his way through the layers of young African American activists in New York and come out as a recognized leader. So far so good. The problem is that it turned out that it never happened.
Ms. Brawley, living in an abusive household in fear and terror of her mother and step-father and who was a constant run-a-way to boys well beyond her age, needed a cover story. And man oh man did she come up with one. Finally, a grand jury concluded there was not sufficient evidence to indict anyone and the youngster recanted her story. By that time one policeman had committed suicide, several careers had been ruined, and Sharpton was successfully sued for several hundred thousand dollars. But by that time, his gambit had succeeded. He was one of the top dogs not only in New York but in the nation.
It gets a bit worse. Wikipedia recounts a quote that makes “the Rev. Al’s” involvement seem a bit disingenuous. He said to several other that he was leading the band on this making him the top (insert N-word) in New York. Give him credit. He was right. Tawana Brawley made him famous and ultimately enabled him to change his economic standing in America, black or white. Green was the ultimate result.
Now let’s look at the ever so much thinner Rev. Sharpton pontificating and bloviating on MSNBC about all sorts of matters but today about Gov. Ralph Northam. Where is his mirror? Why can he in 1987 shout “off with their heads” in the face of a no-facts story from a scared black teen and now be allowed to yell “off with his head” before the facts are in about Gov. Northam? I don’t know if I’m more shocked that MSNBC has turned Sharpton into a media star with blind forgiveness or maybe ignoring what the facts bore out, or that and not pressuring him to “be transparent” about the handling of race issues. Even Brian Williams was sent to the desert for reflection and penance before he was brought back into the stable.
Sharpton should have been benched on this one–at least from my perspective.
another incisive gem by bill gralnick…well at least thought-producing.
Either down below or on the website http://www.atleastfrommyperspective.net
Read! Its good for both of us.
See ya next Sunday.