By now everyone has heard about the discovery of VA Gov Ralph Northam's medical school yearbook page which includes a picture of two men, one in a KKK robe and one in blackface, one of which may or may not be Northam himself. (The timing of the release of the decades-old photo, almost instantly after Northam found himself in the center of a media firestorm for comments seeming to endorse infanticide, is curious, but that is another matter).
Despite many calls for his resignation, from members of the public, leaders in his own party, various talking heads and celebrities, Northam has so far refused to step down. However, he has apologized for the errors of his past, and has acquiesced to doing penance in order to redeem himself. Northam's advisers have given him reading assignments, such as Roots, and “The Case for Reparations,” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Among other things, Northam has also pledged to take a harder line on the removal of Confederate monuments, stating “if there are statues, if there are monuments out there that provoke this type of hatred and bigotry, they need to be in museums.”
This pledge is contemptible for many reasons. First, Northam readily concedes the Confederate monuments are symbols of "hate." Though Southerners are used to being accused of "hate" for celebrating their honorable ancestors and heroes, seeing an unprincipled and gutless fellow Southerner concede the point without dispute, for the sake of naked self-interest, is repugnant.
Second, what on earth do the monuments have to do with Northam's classless behaviour in his school years? Is he claiming that the supposed sins of his forefathers compelled him to wear unseemly costumes in college? Are the statues of great Confederate generals the proximate cause of his poor judgement? Furthermore, why should those who cherish and wish to preserve these monuments be expected to sacrifice to atone for the personal behaviour of Northam?
Of course, the assumption of the political class is that Virginia has yet to be cleansed of its historic sins. There is more work to do to fully eradicate the legacy of slavery and the poison of racism from the state. Purging reminders of its shameful past is an important step. The priestly class has so proclaimed, and to save his career, Northam is gladly genuflecting before them.
The the connection between Northam and the Confederacy is assumed by many to exist, however, those who honor the likes of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson bear no claim to Northam. If not for its growing population of Northerners and spillover from the DC swamp, the Democratic party would be irrelevant in the once lovely state. And I shudder to think how our devoutly religious forefathers would have dealt with anyone arguing the merits of late-term abortion. It is unfair to attribute the Northam fiasco to Southern history and culture, but it is being done nonetheless.
The Carolina Contrarian, Anne Wilson Smith, is the author of Charlottesville Untold: Inside Unite the Right and Robert E. Lee: A History Book for Kids. She is the creator of Reckonin' and has contributed to the Abbeville Institute website and Vdare. She is a soft-spoken Southern belle by day, opinionated writer by night. She loves Jesus, her family, and her hometown. She enjoys floral dresses and acoustic guitar music. You may contact Carolina Contrarian at CarolinaContrarian@protonmail.com.