Trial by twitter?
by Dr. Larry Fedewa (February 3, 2019)
By now everyone has heard about Governor Northam’s week from Hell. First, he makes headlines in a video which records his cold-blooded description of how the execution of a new-born baby would proceed according to a proposed law (later defeated by the Virginia legislature). Then, his page in the 1984-yearbook of his medical school surfaces showing his picture along side two other pictures, one of a Ku Klux Klansman and one of a black face performer. At first, he waits for nearly a day before issuing an apology for the pictures, seeming to admit that one of them is him. Then he has a press conference in which he denies that he is either of the figures represented.
In the meantime, the apparently unchallenged fact surfaces that his nickname in medical school was “Coon”. Never late to the hanging, both Democrat Senators, Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both former Virginia Governors, renounce Northam and call for his resignation, along with nearly every other politician in Virginia and Washington.
So, the question arises, “What should the Governor do?” He has clearly been declared guilty of racism, the most deadly of accusations among the “diversity” crowd, through trial by twitter. In this regard, he is the latest in a growing list of recipients of conviction by popular demand. The list includes people from all walks of life, from NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, to Senator Al Franken, to Florida neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman, and countless others.
In the age of instant social media, this trend poses a danger to the personal freedom of everyone. We are all at the mercy of some malicious slander posted on Facebook, Twitter or any one of the millions of mailing lists, which then goes “viral” and ruins a person’s reputation, if not career, marriage or business. It can happen in the blink of an eye – often without any more proof than someone’s word. Frequently, the accusation is not any more than disagreement with someone’s position on a particular topic. Whatever happened to: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend with my life your right to say it.” ? (Attributed to Voltaire by biographer Evelyn Beatrice Hall)
This is the case in the Northam affair. He is under attack on two fronts – his obvious advocacy of infanticide and his apparent racism as a young man. While the latter would seem to be by far the more serious of the two accusations, it is the second that has incurred the ire of his fellow Democrats. So, how should the charge against Governor Northam be evaluated?
First, racism is a moral evil, not a criminal matter. Therefore, there is no legal recourse against him. Whatever action is taken will be at the Governor’s own discretion. Secondly, the charge must be clarified. Even if the circumstantial evidence of his alleged racism as a young man were to be further substantiated, the real question is not about Ralph Northam at age 25, but about Ralph Northam today, at age 59. As yet no evidence of current racism has come forward in all the blather posted to date. On the contrary, the intervening years have been occupied by military service, private medical practice and political activity. Nowhere has there been any accusation of racism. It seems therefore reasonable to assume that, even if Ralph Northam was insensitive to racial sensibilities as a young man – not admitted or proven by any hard evidence as of this date – it seems reasonable to assume that his life experience has taught him the significance of these sensibilities. In the absence of any hard evidence to the contrary, therefore, Governor Northam should not be considered a racist.
With respect to the second issue, advocacy of postpartum abortion, however, the situation is different. There are two criteria for continuing in office: legal and moral. It is not against the law to advocate murdering babies. Such an advocacy is, however, evidence of moral blindness. Any person who does not recognize the right of a newborn baby “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is not fit to hold high office in the government of this republic.
Unfortunately, the same public opinion which stands ready to condemn someone of racism on the flimsiest of evidence also steps aside when the issue is the rights of newborn children. All the implications of this position appear to be covered in a cloak of partisanship. This is a morally untenable position when it comes to babies already born, breathing and crying in the arms of the mother. Frankly, killing that baby in the womb at a much earlier stage of life is also morally repugnant. But whatever considerations favor the survival of the child in the womb are magnified 1000% after birth.
Killing a living, breathing baby is infanticide and should be an indictable offense of murder in the first degree. The current position of the Left in sanctioning this practice is the crassest form of barbarism. If a woman does not want a baby as a result of intercourse, she should take measures to avoid conception. After a child is born, it is too late to change her mind.
On this basis, Governor Ralph Northam should be deprived of his current office. His cold-blooded narrative as recorded on videotape reveals a moral opacity which constitutes a threat to anyone whose life is in danger, whether criminals, the terminally ill, or the permanently disabled. Assisted suicide cannot be far behind; those willing to kill babies would not stop at killing old people under the same rationale, namely the convenience of caretakers, the preference of heirs, or the cost to the state. There is no place for these killers in the high offices of the United States of America.
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