The Time for Northam to Resign was Yesterday

Ralph Northam, the Virginia governor, remains in office, but is under pressure to resign.

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Ralph Northam, the Virginia governor, remains in office, but is under pressure to resign.

By DHS Press Staff, Dominion High School

In today’s society, there is a sharp focus on identifying any racism, sexism, or homophobia. Comedians, actors, and other public figures have their words and actions scrutinized on a regular basis. Our elected officials should be held to an even higher standard, because they can impact change on a level far greater than aforementioned groups.

The recent revelations about Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s (D) involvement in a medical school yearbook photo that depicted both the despicable art of blackface and the horrific white robes of the Ku Klux Klan leave one, and only one option.

He must resign. He needs to apologize to the African-American community and to the rest of his constituents of color, and then he should leave office quickly and quietly. The time for his departure is not today, it is not tomorrow. It was yesterday.

With every passing second that Northam remains in power, he defiles the office of the Governorship, reducing it to nothing more than a monument to Virginia’s prolonged history of racism and bigotry.

Let us not forget that the city in which  Northam resides today, Richmond, was the capital of the Confederate State of America, a state which was created to protect the institution of slavery. Let us not forget that Virginia strongly opposed the integration of its public schools and that the Federal Government had to intervene.

There is no tip-toeing around it. Gov. Northam’s actions have thrust Virginia’s ugly history back into the limelight.

He is no longer fit to lead this government. Whether the picture was taken yesterday, or 35 years ago, blatant racism cannot be tolerated and has no place in any corner of this country. It needs to be found and eradicated, and by forcing Northam to resign, the government can send a strong and unambiguous message to all of its citizens that racism has no place in today’s society and informs those who have been affected by racism so strongly in the yesterday’s past and in today’s present that it will have no place in tomorrow’s future.

The Democratic Party, which had a monumental 2018 in which numerous minority candidates were elected to office, now faces a crucial decision that could tilt the scales of the 2020 Presidential Election. Their portrayal of themselves as the party of inclusion has no merit if they do not swiftly and soundly deal with racism inside their own party and to their credit, they have risen to the occasion.

The Democratic National Committee, the Congressional Black Caucus, The Democratic Governors Association, the state’s Democratic Party, and the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, have all called on Northam to step down, as have numerous prominent individuals inside the party.

2020 hopefuls such as Senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, and Eric Holder have all demanded that Gov. Northam step aside.

This is a time for America to seriously consider the future that holds for it. It is time to examine the racial problems that plague our country and to begin to eliminate them. Removing Northam is a signal that racist actions and racist rhetoric will have consequences.

The stakes are too high, in a county today that sees itself become more divided and partisan than ever, to allow a malignant presence such as Gov. Northam to linger in the party and in a position of power.

This story was originally published on DHS Press on February 4, 2019.