It’s been two weeks since Virginia’s Governor Northam faced calls to resign in the light of 35-year-old yearbook photos.
Maybe it was him in those blackface photos...maybe it wasn’t - I dunno.
What I do know is that today, in America, we’re losing our minds.
I say this because things that happened 35 years ago can ruin your life...and I don’t think these things are really that big of a deal.
And boy, do we see this a lot lately.
Four days after the Northam ‘scandal’ erupted, we learned in an interview with actor Liam Neeson that he thought about killing a random “black bastard” because a black guy had raped a woman he knew...over 30 years ago.
That’s kind of the thing with these stories - the actual events happened decades ago.
It reminds me a lot of the Brett Kavanaugh hearings we had to endure this past fall, where again, the events that supposedly happened took place over 30 years ago.
Much of this has to do with the #MeTooMovement, which began in October 2017.
And we know how that movement operates. The Guardian put it like this:
“In this post-#MeToo era, the celebrity scandal roadmap has become rather predictable. A famous person - usually a man, typically of a certain age - is accused of unacceptable behaviour and Hollywood unites to cast them into the wilderness.”
The article then wonders if Liam Neeson is about to suffer the same fate.
What we do know for certain is that Hollywood and the world of politics operate very differently.
In Hollywood - and the media as well - if you’re accused you’re automatically tried in the court of public opinion and usually lose your job within a day or two.
In politics, however, there’s usually calls to resign or step-down or something like that...but rarely do we see these acted upon. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve seen a politician actually resign since Al Franken did so in December 2017...two months after the #MeTooMovement started.
What we as a society forget is that people make mistakes. It’s typically how we learn the most, and the fastest.
Yet today, that’s not acceptable.
Frankly, I’m quite shocked at how surprised we are that there were racist people in Virginia in the early-1980s. Hell, that state helped start the Civil War just 120 years earlier...or about four generations.
Megyn Kelly recently lost her NBC job for making blackface comments as well. Sometimes just talking about these things is enough to get you fired, ridiculed and ultimately shunned.
I’m reminded a lot of the Helena Civil War fountain, which was removed in August 2017. We think we can change what happened in the past if we remove a few people or a few memorials. This kind of 'cultural revolution' does us more harm than good, in my opinion.
Really, for the past two years in this country we’ve been hyper-vigilant when it comes to anything that might smack of racism or sexism.
The tar and feathers are brought out very quickly in these cases, and lives are ruined.
Many times this ruination is justified, but in a lot of cases it’s just the knee-jerk reactions from a foaming-at-the-mouth public - whipped-up by a rabidly yellow for-profit media - that makes these stories much larger than they need to be.
And many people are realizing this.
It’s why we don’t see Governor Northam stepping down in Virginia. That scandal has pretty much blown over already, as they usually do.
Let’s be honest - if you can weather the media storm for a few days, the media will lose interest and wander off. The public forgets a day or two later. It shows us that people don't really care that much after all.
It helps if the politicians set to replace you come under their own storm. In the case of Virginia, we see that sexual impropriety is much more egregious than racist incidents.
And let’s not forget that most of this is blown way out of proportion as the left and the right continue their endless game of ripping out each other’s throat.
I don’t think the #MeTooMovement is anywhere close to losing steam, nor do I think that we’ll see an end to this fever pitch over racist incidents from decades ago.
As a society we’ve become incredibly whipped-up and put into a frenzy over these past few years.
Trump and his election are a big part of it, but if you look deeply, you’ll see that these issues have always been just below the surface.
Trump didn’t make the country into a different thing; he just showed us who we truly are and who we’ve always been.
Many today don’t like these truths, and attempt to ruin people’s lives for things they did when they were young and stupid. I'm not sure this is a healthy, long-term approach our country should take.
All things pass, and this stage of our country’s development will too.
It’ll just take time.