From Moon Walking to Slow Walking

by Kerry Dougherty

I’m tired of writing about Gov. Ralph Northam. I wish he’d stop doing dumb things so we could all go back to ignoring him.

But here we go again. This time it’s another Northam bait-and-switch.

What is it with this governor? He claims to worship at the altar of science and numbers but becomes an apostate when the facts don’t suit his agenda.

Yesterday, for instance.

Shortly before his Tuesday press conference Northam excitedly Tweeted: “Tune in now – I’m giving an update on #Covid-19 in Virginia and making an important announcement.”

I knew the big announcement wouldn’t be that Northam was looking at our collapsing COVID numbers and was ready to loosen his stranglehold on the commonwealth. That’s not his style. Gullible Virginians may have been tricked into watching, however.

Northam spent about THREE minutes at his presser discussing the biggest issue facing the state: The drawn-out Covid shutdowns that are crushing our economy, forcing businesses into bankruptcy and causing hundreds of thousands of Virginians to lose their jobs.

“Our total case numbers have been trending downward,” Northam admitted with the somberness he reserves for good news. “The number of hospital beds occupied by COVID patients is trending down, as is the number of patients hospitalized with a positive or a pending COVID test.”

He said the percent of positive tests dropped to 7.4%.

These were the precise metrics that he’d promised would move the commonwealth into the next phase of reopening.

“All of these numbers look positive, but I want to be clear about a couple of things,” Northam said. “We will not be moving into phase 3 this week. On Thursday, we will have more to say about what phase 3 would look like.”

Geezus. More slow walking.

Oh, and guess how many minutes he spent talking about the nursing home carnage which had one of its ugliest days Monday?

Zero. Unless I missed something.

Yet surely he, too, saw the sickening numbers: 18 Virginians dead of COVID on Monday, 17 of them were in nursing homes. That’s 94% for those keeping score at home.

Tragic.

Instead of explaining how he was going to stop the deaths, Northam sprinted to his happy news.

The governor wants to declare June 19th — “Juneteenth” — a holiday. It commemorates the day in 1865 when Union soldiers landed in Texas with belated news of Emancipation. A day worth celebrating because it marks the official end of slavery in America.

Another Independence Day.

This week’s holiday will be celebrated only by executive branch workers but the governor plans to ask the General Assembly to make it a permanent holiday for all state workers.

He left out one important detail, of course: How he plans to pay for this after wrecking the economy with his lockdown.

Northam is not only a man with poor judgment — his blackface caper, his recent pandemic promenade on the boardwalk — but an unserious governor who’s easily distracted by shiny objects, such as superstar Pharrell Williams who joined him at his presser to make the announcement about the new holiday.

We all love Pharrell. He’s a favorite son in Virginia Beach. Best of all, he brought the “Something In The Water” festival to the Resort City last year, turning a problematical weekend for his hometown into an explosion of music and good vibes.

We are forever grateful. Many of us can’t wait for next April’s SITW festival. Unless Northam still has the state on lockdown, that is.

Since Northam seems incapable of multitasking, he ought to be reopening the commonwealth, not hobnobbing with celebrities. We all know why Northam spent his press conference the way he did. He’s still trying to atone for slapping a blackface/Klan picture in his medical school yearbook in 1984. That appalling photo has never been explained.

Nevertheless, declaring a Juneteenth holiday is a fine idea. We like holidays and need more of them.

Someone tell the governor that a new holiday will mean much more when people are actually back on the job.

This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.

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21 responses to “From Moon Walking to Slow Walking

  1. Kerry says:
    “Nevertheless, declaring a Juneteenth holiday is a fine idea. We like holidays and need more of them.”

    Here is a highly informed opinion by a great American historian who knows what he is talking about, a growing rarity these days.

    • “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” That is an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing. He is dead on correct that the former slaves and black freedmen freed the remaining slaves themselves with their contributions to the Union victory. The proper date to mark, I’d think, would be something related to the 13th Amendment, which went into effect December of 1865.

  2. “I’m tired of writing about Gov. Ralph Northam. I wish he’d stop doing dumb things so we could all go back to ignoring him.”

    Hmmm, talk about coincidences.

  3. Thanks for this clip. I really don’t think Juneteenth should be a state or national holiday. Just because Texas celebrates it as the day slaves were freed there does not mean that the rest of the country should adopt it.

    I understand Jones’ point about there not being enough emphasis or acknowledgement of the role of black soldiers in the Union Army. Although he was not as clear in the talk as I would have liked, I think he was advocating for Emancipation Day, the day the Emancipation Proclamation was issued. Although it did not free all slaves, it did enable the Union Army to recruit freed slaves in occupied territory and runaway slaves from other parts of the Confederacy. That would be a proper day to celebrate; the problem is that it is January 1, so it would get lost in the New Year’s Day hoopla.

    An even more appropriate event for celebrating the end of slavery would be the adoption of the 13th amendment–either January 31, when Congress adopted or December 6 when it was ratified. Of course, Jones might object to either of these dates because the ratification of the 13th amendment meant people doing something for slaves without their active involvement. But I would argue that the 13th amendment, along with the 14th and 15th amendments, were the culmination of all that the Union soldiers, black and white, had fought and died for, and they should be viewed as memorials to all the slaves that had suffered through the history of the country.

    • That sounds like a good suggestion, they could dedicate a single day (in the fashion of Presidents Day) to commemorate all 3 Amendments.

    • You can’t see me but I have both thumbs up.

    • I agree, Dick, good idea.

      Of the two dates, I would argue for January 31 solely because we need a holiday more in the middle of the winter doldrums than stuck between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However we do already have MLK on January 15 — should that and the 13th A be celebrated together?

  4. Ralph Northam is strong evidence supporting Calvin’s belief in Double Predestination.

    Don’t forget that the United States Navy was racially integrated during the Civil War. For the life of me, I don’t understand the logic of segregation when the canon is fired from land but not from water. I’m not arguing that the Navy did it right, but only that it wasn’t as stupid as the Army.

    Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, after a successful action at Antietam. One of my 2nd great grandfathers was there in the Philadelphia Brigade.

  5. Kerry says “we all know why” so who is this all and how does she really know what is in the Governor’s mind? She may be a lot of things but not a mind-reader. I for one am glad that the numbers in Virginia are trending down as quite recently it was not this way. I would like to keep it going in the right direction and am in favor of sound precautions. Every day people are driving up to Virginia from states farther south that have the numbers going the wrong way. Since I don’t see us closing down the borders to Virginia, there is nothing wrong with being safe rather than sorry.

    • Does anyone think Ralph Northam has not been using his office and authority to engage in virtue signaling since he was caught posing in blackface next to a person wearing KKK garb? No personal amends. He gets by with this only because he is a Democrat.

      If UVA is changing its symbols, Quaker Oats is abandoning its Aunt Jemima brand, etc., etc., why no renewed calls for Northam to resign? But then, the little s&*t mayor of Minneapolis is also getting a pass despite his failure to clean up the police force, which, in turn, allowed Training Officer Chauvin to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for almost 9 minutes. Oh yes, now I remember. Frey is a Democrat too.

  6. A new holiday that virtually no one will celebrate is a stupid idea. Is our Idiot governor allowed to unilaterally declare a holiday? If so, that job should be taken away from him. With all of the challenges we face from coronavirus, civil unrest, economic decline, our “leaders” should not be wasting time on empty symbolic gestures. We have REAL challenges and problems in our state, let’s start working on them.

    • Celebrate it or not, employees will happily take the day off, or get their premium pay for working. This won’t be a year for pay raises, probably.

    • And the residents of Virginia should expect more of Ralph Northam? Maybe Jacob Frey will return to Virginia to seek higher office. The Post editorial board will spend lots of bits and bytes promoting him.

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