Give him a pass (on this one).

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam pauses during a news conference in the Governor’s Mansion in Richmond, Va., on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019. Northam is under fire for a racial photo that appeared in his college yearbook. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The word schadenfreude means “enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others,” an example of which is watching Democratic Virginia governor Ralph Northam squirm. As you’ll recall, it recently came to light that Gov. Northam is seen in photographs in his medical school yearbook dressed up in blackface. Of course, calls for his resignation went up immediately.

The schadenfreude arises from still-fresh memories of the pure hell to which Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh was subjected over uncorroborated, ever-shifting allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to his high school days. You’ll remember that there were no pictures of Brett Kavanaugh, no physical evidence at all. His accuser couldn’t even say with any certainty where or when the misconduct occurred. Nevertheless, Kavanaugh and his family were made to suffer extreme duress during his confirmation hearings.

It’s nice, then, to see Democrats put on the spot – in this case for real or perceived racism. (That’s something with which Republicans are charged daily. It’s refreshing to see the shoe on the other foot.)

But as enjoyable as schadenfreude is, it’s an empty and pointless emotion. For his appearance in blackface years ago, I believe that Governor Northam should be given a pass. Except in the most egregious cases – and by egregious I mean actual crimes like murder, rape and aggravated assault – there ought to be, for political purposes, a statute of limitations on youthful stupidity. If you did something stupid once, and haven’t done it since, you ought to be left alone.

In the absence of such tolerance, most of us are politically indictable for any number of idiotic things we did or said while in high school and college. Most of us grew out of it and have led decent, productive lives. Yet, the internet has enabled the digging up of ancient dirt on just about anyone. If a late inning revelation of such dirt on a politician is enough to overturn an election or derail a political career, fewer people will run for office.

A shrinking political talent pool will have the effect of leaving us to choose from candidates who literally can’t get a job doing anything else. Successful people, who late in their careers might otherwise be willing to bring their accumulated experience to public office, won’t be willing to risk having some ancient misdeed dug up and used to ruin their reputations.

So, give the governor a mulligan on the blackface. Let his election stand.

But, if he wants another term, let him face the voters and account for something much more consequential than a sophomoric yearbook photo. Make him explain to voters why he thinks it’s OK to electively kill viable babies. That question arises not from some decades old act of youthful indiscretion. It arises from a position taken on pending legislation two weeks ago. Let the voters of Virginia decide on that. Let them render a verdict on the Ralph Northam of the here and now.

Let them, in so doing, render a verdict on themselves.

Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of Gleiser Communications, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The Team FM & KYZS in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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7 Responses

  1. Holland Cooke says:

    Meanwhile, in Texas…the Federal government would begin seizing private property, to #FinishTheWall, if a Trumped-up National Emergency weren’t destined to crash-N-burn in court.

    So, yeah, about Virginia…

    • Paul Gleiser says:

      First of all, it’s not Trumped up. Come to Texas, go to the Rio Grande Valley and see for yourself what’s going on there. The entire southern border is under siege, most particularly those portions of the border that span Texas and Arizona where the natural terrain makes it inviting for illegals to cross. After your visit to the RGV, drop in on just about any public elementary school in Texas and count the faces of non-English speaking, non-citizen kids filling up classrooms and straining local school district budgets to the breaking point.

      Then, sit down with a couple of federal agents and prosecutors — I can arrange the meetings — and get them to tell you in detail what percentage of their workloads are constituted by crimes committed by illegal aliens. We’ll invite the local sheriff, who will tell you that for as much of his workload that is brought about by the activities of illegal aliens, it is nevertheless true that crime among and by illegals is actually UNDER-reported.

      After we’re done, I’ll be glad to arrange a meeting with the Chief of Emergency Services at either of the two big hospitals. He’ll be glad to fill you in on the daily joys of dealing with drug overdoses brought about by drugs that come into Texas via the southern border.

      And don’t kid yourself. There is no way that a national emergency “crashes-N-burns” in court. Certainly some liberal district judge will try to kill it. Almost certainly that district court will be in the infamous Ninth Circuit, which will also try to kill it. But it will wind up in the Supreme Court, where precedent, statute and makeup of the court all favor the president.

      • L Miles says:

        The Hollanded-up dismissal of the border emergency is hard to stomach. How on earth can any member of the human species want to encourage crimes against American citizens by way of murder, drugs, sex-trafficking, rape, kid-napping, robbery, theft, etc., by illegal alien criminals that are allowed to invade our border? How horrible it is to know that we have such callous people in our midst. Paul, could you itemize the numbers of human casualties and the total dollar cost to the Nation (at all levels) to drive your incredible points further home?

  2. Holland Cooke says:

    “No way” this dies in the courts?
    Care to make it intere$ting?

    Google “Harry Truman Youngstown Steel,” to see how — in WARTIME — the Court balked.

  3. Marsha Blackburn, Senator for Tennessee, campaigned on building the wall along the Mexican-USA border. I ask that her Tennessee supporters and those who expect her to follow thru, contact her. Contact Senator Martha McSally of Arizona and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona if you live in AZ.
    Do not allow the free flow of things coming from Mexico to continue. Either fund and build the wall, or stop talking about it.
    As for Ralph Northam, killing a deformed baby that is otherwise healthy is something out of eugenics. He should resign for his comments on the radio show.

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