Virginia Governor should resign amid racist photograph


Gov. Ralph Northam delivers an address to the press at the Governor’s Mansion on Saturday Feb. 2.

Jackson Bracknell, Editor-in-Chief

Over the past weekend, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page from Eastern Virginia Medical school was discovered, highlighting a picture of a man dressed in blackface standing next to a man dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes; because of the photograph and events that followed, the Governor should abandon his office and allow Virginians to heal under Lt. Gov. Fairfax.

Democratic Gov. Northam released an apology video after the public release of the photo on Friday stating, “I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now… The first step is to offer my sincerest apology and to state my absolute commitment to living up to the expectations Virginians set for me when they elected me to be their Governor.”

On Saturday at the Governor’s mansion, however, Gov. Northam denied being dressed in either racist costume pictured, but he did dress up in blackface for a Michael Jackson costume at a point in his young adult life.

The day after the Governor admits to being pictured in the photograph, he denies it. This only strengthens the case for the need for his resignation.

Gov. Northam announced he will not resign, despite public and political outrage, because he does not want to be considered a “racist for life.”

Personally, I do not think the Governor is a racist, in this case scenario, yes, but not throughout his career as a public servant, doctor, and Army Officer.

On the other hand, he is irresponsible for not recognizing this photograph in 1984 and immediately extinguishing it from his personal page; he should not govern in a commonwealth where thousands of black voters are personally offended and thousands of other voters and taxpayers demand his resignation.

If he holds his office, the Governor could not properly govern or enforce laws upon Virginians who see their governor as a racist; Virginia would also be known as the state with racist and morally questionable leaders.

The more the Governor tries to deny being pictured or soften the blow to his already destroyed political career, the worse his situation becomes.

To make matters worse, second in succession to the Governor, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, was recently accused of sexual assault at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.

“She was very much into a consensual encounter,” said Fairfax about the 2004 incident. “Everything was 100% consensual. And now, years later, we have a totally fabricated story out of the blue to attack me once I was in politics.”

Amid these troubling times for Virginia, Gov. Northam should hold on to his office until Lt. Gov. Fairfax is acquitted and allegations proved false; afterward, however, Gov. Northam should immediately resign.

It is not the first time the Commonwealth of Virginia has been in the national spotlight, but it is the first time in recent memory where the chief legislature in a state that should be leading the nation is viewed in such a negative and hateful light.

In a state with one term Governors, Northam should abandon his political career and Virginia public office as soon as possible.

Yearbook page of the Governor which sparked conversation for his resignation.