Bad Idea ~ Part 1: Forcing Gov. Northam’s resignation after a right-wing group dug up a troubling 35-year old college yearbook picture

by faithgibson on February 3, 2019

Warning ~ This post is very critical of both the Republican and Democratic Parties

Civic Virtue vs. a Disproportionate Reaction & ‘shot first, ask questions later‘ political policy reminiscent of McCarthyism

Easy shortcut to share ~

Current attempts by politicians from both parties to force the resignation of Gov. Northam is unfair and bad for democracy.

This politically-driven, “shot-from-the-hip” reaction based on an old photograph from a school yearbook does nothing to right the many actual wrongs associated with our centuries-long history of racism or make our democracy stronger. 

More to the point, we can’t undo the harm of slavery and racism by randomly sacrificing politicians of either ethnicity, even if they have been accused of acting inappropriately or being insensitive at some time in their past. 

While tightly focused on white guilt and black anger (however justified both may be) in the hyper-partisanism angst of the 2020 presidential election, we must remember that the photo in question, while itself offensive, did not directly result in any harm or injury during the 35 years it lay dormant between the dusty pages of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook of 1984. 

The appropriate democratic response is for partisan politicians to stay out of the fray, and let the Virginia voters who elected Gov. Northam in the first place decide the merits of the situation for themselves.

If they believe Gov. Northam is no longer fit to govern them, they can petition their Legislature for a recall voteBut no resignation in a democratic country that honors the rule-of-law should be the result of mass-hysteria and a kangaroo court.  

Partisan Politics on Steroids

The real culprit here is partisan politics on steroids, with the blame falling squarely on the shoulders of both political parties. In different ways, and fueled by radically different motives, both Democrat and Republican politicians are equally guilty of the type of intolerance and tactics associated the McCarthy era.

I’m describing the despicable act of systematically scouring someone’s private life (i.e., paying people to collect ‘dirt’ or become snitches) until  some tiny isolated factoid from long ago is found, and then using inference, innuendo, exaggeration and extra-judicial means to justify destroying someone’s public life. 

Fairness as a Civic Virtue 

A core aspect of our democratic ideal is fairness. With rarest exception, this means explicitly rejecting the illogical notion that any mistake, no matter how small or long ago or how flimsy the evidence, makes it OK to subject political candidates or public officer holders to public shaming and character assassination for the purpose of ending their careers. 

This fundamental principle of fairness was recklessly abused when Republican party operative dug up a 35-year old photo, and accompanied by self-rigious fanfare, published it online.

This first act of ethical sabotage was then turned into a lethal weapon by Democratic politicians and other public leaders who, without further consideration, insisted that Gov. Northam immediately resign.

While both political parties claim the high ground, both are missing the mark by a wide margin. The use of these tactics is unwise and deeply unflattering to the politicians involved. This is a predatory form of partisanship that has far more to do with the 2020 elections than any fair assessment of Gov. Northam’s actions 35 years ago as a med student.

By calling for his resignation under such circumstances, these politicians dismissed decades of Gov. Northam’s good reputation as a person, his career as a pediatrician, his excellent record as a public servant — all without a minute’s hesitation or a backward glance

Democrats being Afraid:  Democratic politicians are deathly afraid of looking “soft” on racism, or being seen as racially insensitive. In their attempts to convince voters of color that all Democrats are super-sensitive to their blight, they were quick to make outrageous statements to the public that did NOT factor in the negative consequence of this “zero tolerance”, “shot-first, ask questions later” policy. 

Republicans Being Mean: However, right-wing Republican operatives pursuing their favorite “weapon of Mass Distraction — repealing Roe v. Wade — were the instigators. They quietly when about implementing their own partisan strategy, which is using access to legal abortion as a wedge issue that, as a WMD, always reves their base. Apparently (and illogically) they believe their goals are so ‘pure’ that it justifies the use of any and all dirty tricks. 

As a matter of party policy, these tactics include actions by a North Carolina right-wing newspaper called the “First In Freedom Daily” that urges its readers to dig up “hot tips” for their newspaper. 

This partisan strategy by a North Carolina far-right group had not triggered by political dissatisfaction with Gov. Northam or  a personal grudge against him, but instead as a strategy to influence the Democratic state legislature — all to provide abortion foes with some real or imagined political advantage.  

This is part of the GOP’s long-game opposition to abortion for political (not moral) reasons.  In this case, a bill in the Virginia Legislature that would liberalize the state’s abortion law.

The First In Freedom Daily falsely portrayed this law on its website with a headline that read: Democrats in Virginia Propose Law Allowing Abortions Mere Seconds Before Birth”.

Please continue on to Part II and note excerpts from original sources below

Link to Part II  ~ Bad Ideas ~ More about Gov. Northam, right-wing newspaper ‘First-In-Freedom Daily’ & political strategies to make abortions illegal and unsafe and why this ‘mountain-out-of-a-molehill’ is bad for democracy ~

Stroll down to read the following 4 Original Source Material ~

1. Transcript from MSNBC cable news show (02-06-2019) ~ Interview of (D) Pres Candidate Julian Castro

2. Statement by/about Gov. Northam about his medical school yearbook

3. Statement by the Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) about the school’s yearbooks

4. Excerpt from First in Freedom Daily on the issue of abortion and other ‘liberal’ issues that give a clearer picture of their overall goals:


1. Interview of Democrat candidate Julian Castro by MSNBC cable news (ALL In with Chris Hayes Feb 6th, 2019) on why Mr. Castro believes Gov. Northam should resign immediately:

The candidate Castro cited three points:

  1. That Gov. Northam was in medical school — ie. NOT a 15-year-old;
    that it was 1984, 
  2.  That is was not 50 or 60 years ago (which would have been before Northam was born)
  3. That “he did not come forward affirmatively (i.e. before the publication of the photo), but waited for someone to do this research and bring it the public’s attention.“If he had come forward and said “”Look I messed up and I’ve learned since then, it might have been different. Those are the things that i thought about.
  4. Then he said: “I think maybe the most important thing, and you alluded to this, that the party is struggling through this, is that we are the party that respects everybody, and that says that everybody counts** and we’re trying to live by that example. And this is part of that, this could be pain, … but I’m confident that at the end of the day, not only are we going to have a strong party, but we are going to have a stronger country that lives by these values of respect for everybody“.

**ED’s note: Apparently these “these values of respect for everybody” does NOT include Democrats who are running for office or elected, since the so many Democratic politicians regularly shot first and don’t bother with asking questions later  (ex.  Senator Al Franken’s story)

In my personal opinion, Castro flunks as a presidential candidate and should drop out of the race. He is obviously clueless to the slip twixt his brain and lip. His ideals of a “party that respects everybody, and says that everybody counts” and the hypocrisy of continuing call for Gov. Northam to resign. 


Quote from Virginia Governor on his yearbook: 

Northam told reporters that while he took responsibility for the photo shown in the yearbook, he saw it for the first time … yesterday. He said he did not purchase the yearbook and was not aware of the photo in question.

As for his inconsistency, Northam said on Saturday (Feb 2nd)  that he was able to sit down the evening before and take full stock of the photo after talking with friends of his from his medical school days.
“What has happened, I finally had a chance to sit down and look at the photo in detail. It is definitely not me,” he said in response to questions.
His medical school yearbook is not the only yearbook in question, either. After the medical school photo was revealed, photos of Northam’s yearbook from Virginia Military Institute were made public and showed that one of his nicknames in college was “Coonman,” a racially insensitive moniker.


Statement from the Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors on Feb. 3, 2019, at 5:15 PM

“The Eastern Virginia Medical School Board of Visitors, like the administration, faculty, staff and students of EVMS, are committed to our core values of integrity, collegiality and excellence,” said Rector David A. Arias, Founder of SwimWays.

“The Board, like our senior management team, is committed to discovering quickly how unacceptable photos such as these came to be published in the past. Further, we are committed to ensuring that our existing culture is one that would never tolerate such actions today.”

Following yesterday’s announcement of the creation of the external Community Advisory Board, President Richard V. Homan, MD, appointed Gilbert Bland, as Chair of the Community Advisory Group.



Excerpt from First in Freedom Daily on the issue of abortion and other ‘liberal’ issues that give a clearer picture of their overall goals:

“While conservatives in the South East  and elsewhere, accept that places like California and New York are incubators for radical Leftists, it is alarming to know that this type of immoral law has even minimal support in a state just to our north.

From 70 percent income tax rates, to eliminating all private healthcare, to rationalizing the murder of children in the womb – many Democrats are straining to push the ‘Overton window‘ as far Left as possible. In so doing they are seeking to destroy the principles of liberty, limited-government, and, worst of all, the very sanctity of life. If there was ever a movement needed to re-calibrate the nation on these founding principles, it is now.”

Editorial Note: I’m not familiar with the specifics of Virginia’s abortion laws, but speaking as a former labor and delivery room nurse, NOBODY and NO LAW is ever, under ANY circumstances, going to legalize performing abortions on laboring women! This is fake news at its worst.

Read Part II to find out why 


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