By Patricia Sliney:
Controversy appears to keep surrounding some of the top lawmakers in Virginia. Governor Ralph Northam was recently accused of sporting blackface in his 1984 medical school yearbook, which he admitted to on February 1st. There has been much controversy over this situation, as locals in Virginia as well as Americans across the country debate on whether or not they think Northam should resign.
Northam’s formal apology, as seen in this associated press video below, includes his admission of guilt, yet Northam refuses to step down.
This begs the question; how accountable are individuals or political figures for their actions from the past? We have seen a resurgence of public figures needing to own up to past actions as exemplified by Kevin Hart having to step down as host for this years’ 2019 Oscars due to homophobic tweets from his past.
Would the state of Virginia be better off if Northam were to step down? Shortly after it was revealed that Northam had used blackface, Justin Fairfax came under fire as well. Fairfax is Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, the man who would become Governor if Northam were to step down.
While at first, Fairfax seemed the obvious choice as the state’s new leader, it was revealed that Fairfax has a troubling past as well. Dr. Vanessa Tyson, professor at Scripps Women’s College came out in a statement accusing Fairfax of sexual assault in great detail to the New York Times. The statement recalls an encounter from 2004 at a democratic convention where Fairfax forced himself upon her without her consent.
This is not the first disturbing incident that we have seen surface in recent years concerning sexual assault. The #MeToo movement has inspired many women to stand up for themselves and share their story. Fairfax has made public statements denying these allegations, claiming Tyson has lied about this encounter. He remains steadfast in his position, and both Governor Northam and Lt. Governor Fairfax refuse to step down.
These troubling incidents have Virginians and citizens across the country concerned for the state of American politics. What do these actions by prominent figures in our politics say about the election process as a whole? What are your thoughts on this situation, and do you think either of these men should step down? Comment below or tweet us @theAC301