Last year, pictures emerged of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, from when he was in medical school, wearing blackface at a party. At least all signs pointed to him in those photos. He denied it, not very convincingly. It was a big scandal. He didn’t resign… mostly because there were other scandals involving people around him that could have led to a Republican taking his spot.
And you know what? Virginia is much, much better off because he stayed in office. The amount of progressive legislation Northam has signed into law has made the state a better place to live.
That doesn’t excuse what he (very likely) did in college. But it’s a reminder that pragmatism should outweigh perfection in politics. (Joe Biden was hardly my favorite Democratic candidate. I didn’t vote for him in the primary. You bet your ass I’ll be voting for him in November, regardless of what gaffes he makes between now and then, because the alternative is unthinkable.)
Anyway, I bring all that up because this is what Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. tweeted yesterday. He’s referencing a mandate from Gov. Northam that everyone must wear masks in indoor spaces.
I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from @GovernorVA requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!
Falwell’s response to a sensible public health policy is to take Northam’s past act of racism and do something even more racist. He’s just like his buddy Eric Metaxas who responded to Biden’s recent tone-deaf statement with offensive minstrel-speak.
There’s no joke. There’s no thoughtfulness. Falwell and Metaxas just saw openings to be super-racist and took them without any prompting as if they were sticking it to liberals. (They did not.)
Falwell said hours later that he was simply showing how Democrats have always been the “real racists” in this country. There’s no mention of Donald Trump‘s constant racism. Or how the modern GOP is pushing racist policies including voter suppression. There’s no acknowledgment of how even most African-Americans didn’t want Northam to resign after the blackface scandal. There’s also no self-awareness of how most people wouldn’t recognize where that picture came from and would simply see a man in blackface.
Pretending Democrats are the “real racists” is just another conservative lie. These right-wing Christians think they’re hilarious. They’re just assholes trying to deflect attention from their own ignorance and cruelty.
Liberty students have always had good reason to be ashamed of their degree. Maybe one of these days, even Falwell’s backers on campus will realize that.