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OPINION By: BWST Staff
Friday afternoon, another woman came forth with a disturbing allegation of rape against Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax.
Over the course of the last seven days, troubling revelations have surfaced about the top three leaders in Virginia politics.
Governor Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring appeared in racist costumes, donning Blackface at parties during their time in college and graduate school.
Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault by two separate women during his time in college.
The scandals surrounding all of these men have thrust Virginia into uncharted territory and left the commonwealth in a state of turmoil amid a critical legislative session and in the middle of a pivotal election year.
In a statement from his office, Lt. Gov. Fairfax says:
“I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever.
I demand a full investigation into these unsubstantiated and false allegations. Such an investigation will confirm my account because I am telling the truth.
I will clear my good name and I have nothing to hide. I have passed two full field background checks by the FBI and run for office in two highly contested elections with nothing like this being raised before.
It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me.
I will not resign.”
This statement is disgusting. It is the same phrasing used by people like now Justice Kavanaugh to promulgate his innocence by dragging the character and motives of his accusers through the mud.
It is wrong, it is hurtful and Justin Fairfax must resign.
But Fairfax should not be the only one who faces consequences for his actions. Northam and Herring must also choose to step aside.
Both men have admitted to using Blackface in the not-too-distant past, appearing at college parties with “darkened skin” in order to depict a black man in a stereotypical and racist fashion.
Likewise, reports have also recently surfaced that Tommy Norment, Republican leader of Virginia’s Senate, was the managing editor of the Virginia Military Institute’s yearbook in 1968.
That year, the yearbook contained multiple racial slurs, including the N-word, along with pictures of white men both in Blackface and holding confederate flags.
It is time for all four of these top Virginia officials to resign – immediately.
Yes, if Northam, Fairfax and Herring all resign – it means that the Speaker of the House (a Republican) would be the one to take the reigns. It’s arguable that the conservative policies of Speaker Kirk Cox, if elevated to the Governor’s mansion, would halt the progress made in the state in recent years.
But this is about more than politics – this is about ethics. This is about doing what is right and setting a standard to the rest of Virginia and the rest of the nation that we will hold our leaders stringently accountable.
Some will argue that these men deserve forgiveness, and losing their careers for terrible choices made in their early twenties is too harsh.
We cannot let a desire for forgiveness lead to passivity.
Everybody deserves forgiveness. Nobody deserves to lead.