What if a Governor were uncovered as a closet racist and needed to score points with the group of people that he despises? What if this group was a key demographic of his party, critical to his own political future?
What could he possibly do? Maybe an apology tour? Maybe he explains it as just a big misunderstanding? That even though he made fun of people of color in his young adult life, he has changed and “my thinking has evolved.”
No one would buy that kind of obvious pandering and patronizing platitudes, would they? Well, they would. And in the case of Governor Northam, people will literally get hurt, and some will likely die.
Why, because the Governor of Virginia vetoed a bill to protect victims of domestic abuse, not for cause, but effect. Northam, a Democrat, vetoed a bill that would have established a mandatory minimum sentence for domestic abusers who commit the second act of abuse in 10 years.
In a related case, Democrat Lieutenant Governor Fairfax has credible charges of abuse leveled against him. The so-call party of #MeToo and #BelieveWomen are not firing up the torches and sharpening the pitchforks for either man.
The governor said, “There are better ways to ensure that the punishment fits the crime, and many of these ways are already in our code, such as sentencing guidelines.”
Where is the pandering, you may be asking? “Ending mandatory minimums is a question of fairness for “communities of color,” he wrote in the Washington Post. Northam has been meeting with African American and other minority group leaders on his apology tour since February when photos of him in blackface and another in a KKK robe became public.
While domestic violence knows no cultural boundaries and every instance of this despicable crime is one too many, it hits the black community especially hard.
Black women are almost three times as likely to experience death as a result of Domestic Violence than White women. And while Black women only make up 8% of the population, 22% of homicides that result from Domestic Violence happen to Black women.
So, to pander to “communities of color,” (read: mostly MEN of color), our learned governor is withholding a tool that judges could use to bring relief to some victims of domestic violence and give room for abusers to escape the teeth of justice.
“When Republicans called on Ralph Northam to resign in February, it was because we felt he could no longer effectively govern,” House Majority Leader Todd Gilbert said. “Today’s vetoes are proof of that. When given the choice of protecting women who have survived domestic abuse or attempting to repair his own racist legacy, he put himself first.”
Once again, an issue that should never, ever be politicized has been leveraged by an opportunistic politician to his ends. Once again, like the case of Lt. Governor Fairfax and Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the Democrat party has thrown #MeToo and #BelieveWomen under the bus for political expediency.
This veto is a victory for pandering, no victory for Republicans, and an embarrassing loss for Democrats and most of all a slap in the face to victims of color from domestic abuse. We should all feel sick to our stomachs.