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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:54 pm 
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I thought I would start a new thread rather than try to continue this conversation in the "Echo Chamber" thread. As was discussed there, there is an ongoing controversy involving the Democratic governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, involving a racist picture in his medical school yearbook, and his subsequent denial that it was actually him in the picture, but admission that he appeared in blackface on another occasion. I said in that thread that I thought he should resign, and I still think so.

Then it came out that there is an allegation against the African-American Lt. Gov of the state, Justin Fairfax, that he sexually assaulted a woman at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Fairfax denies the allegation, saying that the encounter was consensual. The woman who made the accusation eventually went public with details. In a very bizarre twist, she has hired the same attorneys that represented Dr. Blasey Ford, and Fairfax has hired the same attorneys that represented now-Justice Kavanaugh. Obviously I don't know the truth of the matter, but the allegation seems quite credible to me, and I think that Fairfax should resign too.

If Northam and Fairfax did resign, the state's Attorney General, Mark Herring, would become Governor. Well, it turns out that Herring, who had joined the chorus calling for Northam's resignation, also appeared in blackface when he was younger. So by his own argument, he should resign as well.

If Northam, Fairfax and Herring all resigned, the Republican Speaker of the House, Kirk Cox, would become Governor. So far as I know, he has not been accused of any racist or misogynistic actions. I doubt that it will come to that, but that is what I think should happen.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:30 pm 
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"If at any point in your life, you have ever said or done something that a historically marginalized group would find offensive at some level, you should be fired or resign whatever your current job is."

It's good that we are now more insistent on calling out inappropriate things as inappropriate, but the level of puritanicalism being demanded from the left seems absurd and irrational to me.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:51 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
"If at any point in your life, you have ever said or done something that a historically marginalized group would find offensive at some level, you should be fired or resign whatever your current job is."


But that isn't what this is, trying to distill it down to such a ridiculous claim is not really addressing the issues at all.

More like, if at any point in your life you have sexually assaulted someone, you should be fired or resign, yes! Let's not group all three of these accusations into the same category, they most certainly are not equal!

Now, as for the other two - if, when you were in college (where you should be old enough to know better), you partook in blatantly racist activities, and then later tried to deny you did so, you may well not be suited to your very public, public servant role. Being found to have been so insensitive to a group of citizens should make your suitability for your role questionable.

If you are smart, you'll come clean and say you recognize you did a very stupid thing in your youth and claim that at the time you didn't understand the full racial and historical implications of your actions, you may well be able to perform a level of damage control enough to keep your very public, public servant job.

But these aren't cases of just anyone doing anything ever in their lives that was the slightest bit questionable - this is an elected official who should represent his constituents, having chosen to publish and memorialize blatantly racist behavior in his college year book.

So again, this is not a case of "If at any point in your life, you have ever said or done something that a historically marginalized group would find offensive at some level". Blackface is not just something a historically marginalized group would find offensive at 'some level'. It is something that current marginalized groups have been historically, purposefully mocked with.

Yes, we can all say there are things we didn't realize were racist. Even white college kids can claim they really just didn't know the history of blackface. That very much speaks to their privilege of ignorance. But why do we expect so little of our politicians? Why assume everyone must have exactly this kind of thing hiding in their closet and therefore we shouldn't let social reaction ever affect anyone?

Public opinion should only count when it comes to... well, what exactly? What is the public allowed to be outraged about and what aren't they? When is the public allowed to hold someone accountable for past actions and when should the public be told to just shut up and accept their politician's flaws, no matter what they are? Why is the public being shamed for what the politician chose to do!?

Since everyone is racist, why should anyone be held accountable for their racist actions?? Is that the message?

Oh, and also sexual assault is just like racism, so we'll just bundle those things together and pretend they're the same thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:14 pm 
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I agree that the allegation against Lt. Gov. Fairfax is by far the worst of the three.

That having been said, I certainly think that Democrats need to apply at least the same standards to themselves that they would to Republicans (regardless of whether the reverse is true). If they (we?) would call for the resignation of a Republican in the same position, they need to apply the standard to themselves.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:54 pm 
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Quote:
But that isn't what this is...


Sure it is. You'd be hard pressed to find any offending remark or action of nearly any level made at any time by any public figure where this has not been the reaction from a huge swath of the left's recent outrage machine.

It reminds me a great deal of the time, many years ago it seems, when conservative groups had a louder voice in general media and were constantly morally outraged by all the sex, drugs, and violence in the media. The moral outrage!

Morals are good but puritanical zealotry, maybe not so much.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:05 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Quote:
But that isn't what this is...

Sure it is. You'd be hard pressed to find any offending remark or action of nearly any level made at any time by any public figure where this has not been the reaction from a huge swath of the left's recent outrage machine.


Outrage over sexual assault? How dare. :neutral:

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It reminds me a great deal of the time, many years ago it seems, when conservative groups had a louder voice in general media and were constantly morally outraged by all the sex, drugs, and violence in the media.


Media is a choice to consume. Politicians? Not really much choice once they're elected, they will affect your lives one way or another. Though I am happy to see someone acknowledge that it isn't just Liberals who are 'too sensitive and offended by everything'.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:30 pm 
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Blackface is disgusting behavior that has thankfully been deemed socially unacceptable. It is not, however, a crime. If someone did it and has a track record of mended ways and a sincere apology on offer they shouldn't lose their job over it. If someone's trying to argue that their bad behavior should be accepted for reasons, they deserve whatever comes to them.
That said, I think Northam should rethink his career plans because his crisis management skills are clearly not up to snuff. The VA AG handled his embarrassment much better.

Sexual assault is disgusting behavior that is in the process of being deemed socially unacceptable. It is also a crime. Those accused should face investigation and justice. Fairfax has music to face. He ought to just shut his trap and do it.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 5:41 pm 
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River wrote:
The VA AG handled his embarrassment much better.


Except for calling for Northam's resignation without admitting that he had done the same thing.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:26 pm 
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I don't think public officials should necessarily resign over things they did in college; if they did it last weekend, sure. Generally speaking, judging actions of other eras through the lens of today's sensibilities isn't reasonable, imo.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:36 pm 
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Cerin wrote:
I don't think public officials should necessarily resign over things they did in college; if they did it last weekend, sure. Generally speaking, judging actions of other eras through the lens of today's sensibilities isn't reasonable, imo.


I do agree with this largely, but blackface wasn't acceptable in the 80's, either.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 10:41 pm 
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https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-47162714

Quote:
It has emerged that Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment edited a 1968 college publication chock-full of slurs and blackface photos.

The bombshell comes after Virginia's Republican party said top Democrats had lost the authority to govern.




Two things: hard to argue this is a "Liberal/Democratic over-reaction" if Republicans are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and say they aren't fit to govern. Also: Republicans did it, too, so I guess everything is now proverbially equal and all our politicians suck.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 10:19 pm 
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A second woman has now accused Fairfax of sexual assault, this one even more serious, alleging that he raped her when they attended Duke University in 2000. :( :( :(

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:45 am 
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And a friend of hers has come forward to say she talked to her about the rape.

It's not looking good.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:54 am 
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I don't think there is any question that Fairfax needs to resign.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:50 pm 
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CBS This Morning

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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: "We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619. The first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe, and while—"

@GayleKing: "Also known as slavery" https://t.co/AiX96MU1rJ


Do we have a face-palm emoticon? I can't find it over face-palming for real.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:03 pm 
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Perhaps that one should be cross-posted in the WTF thread. :roll:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 3:58 pm 
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Frelga wrote:
CBS This Morning

Quote:
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam: "We are now at the 400-year anniversary — just 90 miles from here in 1619. The first indentured servants from Africa landed on our shores in Old Point Comfort, what we call now Fort Monroe, and while—"

@GayleKing: "Also known as slavery" https://t.co/AiX96MU1rJ


Do we have a face-palm emoticon? I can't find it over face-palming for real.

:doh: :doh: :doh:

:nono:

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:18 pm 
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I saw that Fairfax requested an investigation of the claims before people rush to judgment. That sounds reasonable to me.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:26 pm 
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So the first blacks to arrive in Virginia were officially indentured servants. No idea if they actually got freed at the end of their indenture. Later the system changed to straight up slavery. I'm not sure why...but it might be important to find out why the downgrade happened. Especially since it didn't also happen to poor whites who took indentures to come to the colonies, or were sent as convicts.

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From the section headed "From Servitude to Slavery":
Quote:
"Servitude in Virginia's tobacco fields approached closer to slavery than anything known at the time in England," the historian Edmund S. Morgan wrote. "Men served longer, were subjected to more rigorous punishments, [and] were traded about as commodities" beginning in the 1620s. For much of the seventeenth century, those servants were white English men and women—with a smattering of Africans, Indians, and Irish—under indenture with the promise of freedom. By 1705, and the passage of "An act concerning Servants and Slaves," slavery had become ensconced at all levels of Virginia society and was well on its way to completely replacing indentured servitude as the primary source of bound labor in the colony.

Most historians have explained this shift by citing either social or economic shifts in Virginia beginning around the 1670s. Morgan and others, for instance, have argued that Bacon's Rebellion (1676–1677) was, in part, the result of discontent among former servants. By harnessing that discontent and, in the name of racial solidarity, pointing it in the direction of enslaved Africans, white elites could create a more stable workforce and one that was less likely to threaten their own interests. Other historians have observed that the flow of English servants began to dry up beginning in the 1660s and fell off dramatically around 1680, forcing planters to rely more heavily on slaves. Slavery did not end indentured servitude, in other words; the end of servitude gave rise to slavery.

The historian John C. Coombs has suggested a third possibility: "There was no 'trigger' cause for the conversion." Instead, slavery expanded gradually as the English empire grew, its role in the slave trade matured, and enslaved Africans became more available throughout Virginia. By the 1670s, slaves had begun to replace white indentured servants among the Virginia gentry—before both Bacon's Rebellion and the sharp decline in new servants. By 1690, slaves accounted for nearly all of the gentry's bound workforce but only 25 to 40 percent of the non-elite's. Over time, as the supply of enslaved Africans increased and their prices decreased, farmers and planters agreed that they preferred a slave for life to a servant who had the hope of freedom. Even so, indentured servants—particularly those with specialized skills—and convict servants continued to be imported to the colony throughout the eighteenth century.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2019 8:37 pm 
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WaPo opinion piece.

Was everyone terrible 30 years ago?

Quote:
Can we believe that someone is no longer who they once were, while at the same time acknowledging the damage of what they once did?

And when it comes to elected officials: Is it too much to ask for some who didn’t have to be transformed to begin with?

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