It can't be that common.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I don't think most people have dressed in blackface, taken photos with a Ku Klux Klan hood on, or if they did either of these, they didn't enshrine the moment by putting it on their medical school yearbook page.
Apparently, Colonel Morris D. Davis, who was a prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay and shares his opinions in major newspapers and across cable news networks, disagrees. He says that if a man like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam can be held accountable for racist words and actions 35 years ago, then we will have no elected officials.
This weekend, Col. Davis tweeted, "If doing anything offensive 35 years ago is disqualifying regardless of the life you’ve led most white, male, straight southerners who despise the GOP & aren’t welcome in (the Democratic Party) they need a 3rd party that’s not unforgiving."
I don't think the Democrats want to be known as the party that is forgiving Gov. Northam, who used both the nicknames Goose and Coonman in his Virginia Military Institute yearbook. That seems like more than an isolated incident.
For those who want to say his public life has provided evidence of the Governor behaving very differently toward minorities, I would like to point out what "political expedience" means and also use as evidence the fact that Northam still found it very entertaining that he applied shoe polish to use blackface in order to wear a Michael Jackson Halloween costume. He would have moonwalked in his press conference Saturday if his wife hadn't been there to tell him it was inappropriate.
For more than three decades, Northam had avoided celebrating the KKK or dressing in blackface in public. How much of that is a change in his beliefs and how much of it is simply being around people who finally told him that doing that publicly was bad for business?
There are racists everywhere. The scariest thing I can imagine is a racist who has learned to hide it. The girls at the University of Oklahoma who donned a black facial care mask and said racist things on social media because they thought it was funny are problematic. To me, it is worse when people hold far more insidious views, but they are smart enough not to record video and publish it for everyone to see. They work themselves into places of power and use that authority to discriminate against people whose skin tone is a little too dark.
As soon as the wildly inappropriate images started circulating, Republicans started sharpening their knives to take down Gov. Northam and his supporters. Unlike Republicans who have faced similar scandals (Rep Steve King supporting neo-Nazi candidates and espousing white supremacy and Mitch McConnell posing for photos in front of a Confederate Battle Flag) Democrats roundly called on Northam to resign.
Everything is bigger in Texas, and that apparently includes the hypocrisy as Sen. Ted Cruz decided to weigh in.
"Media fixation with blackface (“was he dressed as Michael Jackson?”) obscures the more damning point," Cruz tweeted Sunday. "Anybody who voluntarily chooses to celebrate the evil & bigoted KKK is unfit for public office. Media should be asking: did you select that picture to represent what you believe?"
He isn't wrong. Facts are facts.
But these facts are being spoken unironically from a man who chose Rep. Steve King to be his campaign co-chair.
That isn't exactly the moral high ground one should hold before making statements like that.
I don't care if you are a Democrat, Republican, whatever Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman are this week, if you wore blackface, supported white nationalists or celebrated the KKK in any way, you are disqualified from holding public office.
Redemption is possible. People can grow and change. But you simply can't represent people when their appearance has been a source of mockery or open racism against them has been part of your past.
The people of all races deserve better.