The recent controversy surrounding Virginia governor Ralph Northam has reached a confusing point.
After a photo from his medical yearbook revealed two students dressed in both black face and a Ku Klux Klan robe, Northam admitted he was one of the students and apologized.
Both parties urged that he step down, but he refused saying he would work to win back the people’s trust.
After convening with friends and family, Northam retracted his statement the next day saying he wasn’t actually in the photo.
But the governor added that he has worn blackface but on a different occasion for a party in 1984.
Not many people were sympathetic when the news first broke, but Northam owned up to his mistakes and that in itself was admirable.
But now the governor has lost any sympathy he might have had after repealing his previous apology.
Northam’s past actions were inexcusable, but had he not gone back on his original apology, perhaps he could have garnered more support for his case.
This narrative isn’t something new in the media, especially with celebrities. An old tweet written in ignorance could smear their reputation in the current social climate.
But Northam isn’t exactly a celebrity, but as a politician, he should be held to a different degree because he is representing the state of Virginia and the Democratic party.
Celebrities have more wiggle room because their actions don’t reflect badly except mostly on themselves.
This justifies the demand for Northam’s resignation from both parties. His refusal to resign makes everyone look bad, his state, his party and even his country. Northam needs to realize how this might reflect on others in his sphere.
Northam is not doing himself any favors by flip-flopping the narrative. The confusion in the story takes away his legitimacy in an already tricky situation.
Those in the Virginia government have condemned Northam’s actions and asked that he resign so that the state can move on from the events.
However, if Northam were to resign, his successor is amid a scandal of his own. Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax was accused of sexual misconduct, which he has denied.
Next in line after Fairfax is Attorney General Mark Herring who has confessed he also has done blackface in the past.
That means three out of the four next in line for Virginia governor have an active scandal, which leaves the fate of the position uncertain.
Politicians have to take into consideration the impact of their past actions, especially when their constituents and political party don’t think an apology is enough.
With Northam standing his ground, it is unlikely the bipartisan pressure will make him resign.
These events that transpired over the past week and a half has left the government in Virginia and the nation in a disarray about a scandal that only got more confusing as it has unraveled.
If resignations start happening, the fate of the Virginia governor’s seat would be up in the air. But for now, it looks as if Virginia can only hope to end up with the least rotten apple in the barrel.