Some Hopeful News From Virginia For A Change

You've heard the argument that any white men who grew up on the Virginia Peninsula at the time Northam did can be expected to be somewhat racially insensitive. Virginia's 3rd Senate District is mostly on that peninsula and it is represented by Tommy Norment, the Republican majority leader, who, as it turns out with his yearbook editor-- a yearbook filled with racial and antisemitic slurs... and picture of young men in blackface. The 3rd includes all of the counties of Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent, parts of the counties of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry and York and all of the city of Poquoson plus parts of Hampton and Suffolk.

The last time Norment faced a Democrat was in 2015 when he walked off with 69.7% of the vote. This time he'll be facing Army veteran Herb Jones, a progressive Democrat. He retired from the active duty in 1991 and settled in New Kent County, where he started his civilian career in finance and investments In 1999, he was elected County Treasurer for New Kent by a wide margin and went on to serve three terms. Herb continued to serve his country by remaining in the US Army Reserves. A member of the Army Reserves he was called up twice after 9/11 and served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

When I asked Herb about Norment, he pointed out that he's been serving in the General Assembly for almost 30 years. and then offered a quote from Mark Twain: "Diapers and politicians should be changed often. And for the same reason."

Norment is a dishonest politician who thinks he can act anyway he wants with impunity. It’s time to change the diaper. He has blocked commonsense legislation on health care, equal rights, criminal justice reforms, regulation of adult use of cannabis, taxes, and has demonstrated himself to be an unapologetic racist for his entire adult life. Norment is largely responsible for Virginia's refusal to expand Medicaid for Obamacare, costing Virginians a fortune-- over $10 billion in federal aid to help care for around 400,000 cities of the state.

Goal ThermometerAs of this week, Blue America has endorsed Herb Jones and we urge you to read his guest post below. If you'd like to contribute to his campaign-- this is a 2019 off-cycle election in November-- please tap on the ActBlue thermometer on the right. Herb was a Bernie guy in 2016 and will make an exceptional state legislator, particularly in comparison to racist slob Tommy Norment who really should get the heave ho. And by the way, today the Virginia state Senate has 21 Republicans and 19 Democrats. If there are no other changes aside from in the 3rd district, there will be a 20-20 ties with the Democratic Lt. Governor being the deciding vote. That's a very big deal.

Ralph Northam Should NOT Resign
by Herb Jones

The political drama continues to develop in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Folks from all sides continue to call for resignations. The history of Virginia continues to rear it ugly head. People continue to be angry for our collective history and experiences that occurred in the past. We do have choices: to dwell in the past or discuss our history, learn from the unacceptable behaviors, and heal.

The opportunity to grow from tragic adversity is a choice: When my mother was 9-years-old growing up in Ware Shoals, South Carolina, she was called in to their home after playing, only to be confronted with the horrifying news that her father had just been lynched and his body burned. My mother choose not to live the rest of her life full of anger and hatred nor did she blame America for what happened to her father. In my mother’s unparalleled wisdom, she consciously chose to share this fact of our family heritage with my three brothers and me after we had graduated from college, started our careers and matured into adulthood. She knew what would have happened if shared this with us while we were rambunctious teenagers. She was a woman of wisdom and forgiveness. She was the kindest, sweetest, and most generous person I’ve ever known. My brothers and I strive to emulate our mother and father in how we live our lives.

Given the events over the past ten days, if perfection is the new standard for service, then we are all in trouble. In 1984, Ralph Northam was the product of his environment, the eastern shore of Virginia, one of the most racist areas in Virginia. What Ralph did in these photos was stupid, insensitive, and callous. But this was 35 years ago. The hypocrisy surrounding these events is deafening. We have a man in the White House who is ignorant and an unapologetic racist and has been so for his entire life, and-- in a full page ad-- called for the execution of five black boys who were later proven innocent, but never apologized; we have an alcoholic supreme court justice who attempted to rape a young girl in high school and who is also unapologetic; we have a congressman from Iowa who spouts racism every time he moves his lips; in Richmond, Virginia we still have an avenue replete with statues to racist confederate generals whose sole purpose was to keep black people enslaved and overthrow the United States of America. Compare these to a man-- Governor Ralph Northam-- who has made mistakes, admitted his mistakes, apologized for them, has and continues to wear his compassion and empathy on his sleeve; a man who has grown and evolved.

Ralph Northam should NOT resign. This is an opportunity to begin a serious discussion on race and history in the United States. If Ralph Northam resigns, we will never hear from him again. As governor, he has a bully pulpit to start this dialogue. This time is akin to President Barak Obama’s Reverend Wright moment when he made a speech that saved his campaign. Governor Northam has to make the same kind of gesture. Events like this seldom if align that provides a unique place in time. We will never have another opportunity like this. Nelson Mandela birthed the Truth and Reconciliation Movement. He knew that anger and revenge would accomplish nothing. South Africa would have imploded otherwise. We all have made mistakes. If we cannot acknowledge these mistakes, talk about them, and heal, then we will continue to live in past, and the great chasm in American society will never be healed.

Down With Tyranny

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