I saw an interview on CNN Saturday that interested me because of the interviewee and the subject of Virginia Governor Northam’s current woes in office due to alleged racism from his medical school days. This wasn’t one of the countless politicians weighing in with their hot takes about Governor Northam’s yearbook picture. It was John W. Boyd, Jr., the founder, and president of the National Black Farmers Association. He met with Northam and encouraged him to remain in office. Boyd chalks the political crisis up to Northam making a mistake and upon getting caught, apologized. Boyd’s all about redemption, he says.
Ok, I thought. That’s admirable enough. Northam reached out to Boyd and met with him at the Governor’s Mansion Friday. They prayed together. CNN’s anchor Victor Blackwell asked Boyd if his decision to turn the other cheek and accept Governor Northam’s apology was a decision borne out of political reality. That is a perfectly legitimate question. The governor is a Democrat, as are the two next in line who are also facing their own political nightmares. Then, according to the line of succession, the next person that would be Governor, should Northam resign or be impeached is a Republican. Well, well, well. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants, especially since the 2020 census is coming up and redistricting will be on the state legislature’s agenda? As he denied such a straight out political agenda and called for political unity, he also launched into an attack on President Trump and Rep.Steve King (R-IA).
“The governor was very, very sincere,” Boyd said. “I believe in the power of redemption and forgiveness. Let he who cast the first stone be without sin. That’s nobody. So nobody is perfect. I believe that the governor wants to govern Virginia in the right direction, and he reached out to me, Victor, during the government shutdown. And I can say that other people didn’t reach out to me to see how he could help African-American farmers and the state of Virginia.” (emphasis mine)
“People need to start working together,” Boyd said. “In this country, Victor, we’re so politically divided. Here we have the president of the United States who says he’s a nationalist. So I think there’s a big difference between the governor of Virginia and President Trump or a modern-day racist like Steve King who manages to keep his job. There was no outrage for Steve King to step down or where’s the impeachment articles from Congress to impeach this president that says something racist every single day.”
He told the reporter it’s all about redemption. Sounds like his belief in redemption is tied to his political beliefs, though. He’s only into redemption if the person receiving it is a Democrat.
“It’s a bad photo…it speaks for itself, but what I’m trying to tell you today is people change,” Boyd said. “I don’t know how it got there or whatever, but the governor told me today it’s not him in those pictures, and I believe him. We prayed about it, he asked for forgiveness, and I believe in the power of redemption, and I hope others will forgive him too and try to move on and make Virginia better.”
So, it is a political decision. Boyd sounds as ignorant as Rep. Al Green (D-TX) who is obsessed with impeaching President Trump and Trump’s alleged racism is as good of a reason as any. He didn’t admit it to the CNN anchor or to the nationwide audience watching him on television but Boyd did admit that his forgiveness is based on a political decision to a reporter outside the Governor’s mansion. He claims that the Republican Party is “far less sensitive to minorities and blacks” and he doesn’t want Republicans in charge.
It's been one week since the blackface scandal with @GovernorVA began. He's been quiet, but today Northam tweeted that he met with Farmer John Boyd (@JWBoydNBFA). Boyd believes Northam deserves a second chance. Here's his message to the African American community ➡️ pic.twitter.com/gZzcDd5kRs
— Sierra Fox (@thesierrafox) February 9, 2019
Hey, so much for political unity. As usual, the double standard is alive and well in politics as long as Democrats remain in power. What a flaming hypocrite this guy sounds like. I believe him when he tells me who he is, to paraphrase Maya Angelou. Scrolling through Boyd’s Twitter feed verifies that he is all about politics and blaming President Trump’s tariffs for difficulties experienced by farmers.
Afterward, Mr. Boyd and Governor Northam thanked each other using Twitter.
— John W. Boyd, Jr. (@JWBoydNBFA) February 8, 2019
John, I enjoyed hearing from you today. Thank you for your great work on behalf of Black farmers. https://t.co/xShKsVHLq0
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) February 8, 2019
According to this article in Axios, Virginians are split on the question of Northam’s resignation from office. A poll conducted last Wednesday through Friday shows that 47% want Northam to resign and 47% want him to remain in office. Further breakdown shows 42% of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say Northam should remain in office.
And, the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed stating that Northam and Democrats owe Republican Ed Gillespie, Northam’s opponent in the governor’s race, an apology for the charge of racism against Gillespie. Who’s the racist now, Governor Northam? Northam has apologized to lots of people but not to Gillespie.
Ralph Northam won the Virginia governorship in 2017 in part by wielding race as a weapon unfairly against Republican Ed Gillespie. That the same weapon is now likely to end his career is a case of rough political justice, though he and Democrats still owe an apology to Mr. Gillespie.
For Democrats, racism has become the default charge for any GOP policy they dislike on crime, immigration, education, the environment, you name it. This all-purpose political exploitation of race runs the risk of devaluing outrage against genuine racial affronts. Mr. Northam wants Democrats to show mercy now for errors of his youth, but that isn’t the Democratic Party that made him Governor.
Northam says he won’t resign. Why should he? The next two elected officials in the line of succession are mired in scandals of their own. It appears that the Lt. Governor has a more serious and different battle to wage fighting allegations of sexual assault of several women who are now coming forward. If he’s not resigning, why should Northam? The Democrat Attorney General outed himself when he saw the writing on the wall so he’s been cut some slack with media exposure of his days in blackface. It’s going to be really interesting out on the campaign trail as the candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination come to Virginia to campaign. Most of them have called for Northam and the Lt. Governor’s resignation.
Pass the popcorn. This is the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. I plan to enjoy it while I can.