Race, Hypocrisy and Bare-Knuckle Politics

Wes Bellamy at Richmond rally

A group calling itself Virginia Black Politicos rallied near the Governor’s Mansion yesterday and called for the resignation of Governor Ralph Northam. Prominent among the speakers was Charlottesville City Council member Wes Bellamy, who, according to WVIR TV, said it was time for the governor to step down so that Virginians can heal.

“What will we tell them that we did in regard to stand up for white supremacy?” Bellamy said. “What will we tell them and their colleagues and their pupils in school that we did in the year 2019 when our governor decided to make fun of our people.”

This is the same Wes Bellamy who was called out in 2016 for making racist comments of his own. As the Washington Post summarized the controversy back then, the then-30-year-old stepped down from a position on the Virginia Board of Education when it was revealed that in 2011 he had tweeted gay slurs, made light of sexual assault, and made anti-white comments.  

Bellamy apologized for his posts and attributed them to immaturity and inexperience. He wrote:

At the time of the tweets that I saw posted on the website, I was a young man in my early 20s living outside the Deep South for the first time. In the course of trying to mature and find my way. I came to some false conclusions about the world around me and made them known. I sincerely apologize for the inappropriate things I posted to social media many years ago. Elected officials should be held to a higher standard, and while I was not in office at the time, in this instance I came up short of the man I aspire to be.

Gee, where have I heard that logic before? Oh, I remember! Ralph Northam said something similar when he apologized for dressing in black face when he was a young man in his early 20s– not eight years ago but 35 years ago. Bellamy begged for forgiveness on the grounds of youth and immaturity but he is not willing to extend forgiveness to Northam on the same grounds.

In a letter to Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring, who also confessed to having appeared in blackface as a college student, Virginia Black Politicos (VBP) wrote, “It is not enough for you to simply apologize.”

Northam and Herring could atone for their sins, the VBP said, by supporting a leftist agenda: specifically, creating a Business Equity Fund to ladle out funds to minority-owned business, removing all Confederate statues and memorials from public spaces, creating an Office of Equity and Inclusion, boosting funding for Virginia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities, decriminalizing marijuana, establishing a “new renewable energy policy,” ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, and much, much more.

In conclusion, they wrote, “There can be no reconciliation without acknowledgment, reallocation and redistribution of resources, and a commitment to change.”

Bacon’s bottom line: It’s not clear from the letter how Northam and Herring are supposed to accomplish these goals if they resign. Indeed, one is tempted to question whether the VBP really, truly wants them to resign. The moral posturing is an exercise in political power.  The 114 left-wing black politicians and community leaders in VBP are applying a standard to Northam and Herring that they are not willing to apply to one of their own. They are cynically stoking the elected officials’ ‘ feelings of white liberal guilt to pressure them into adopting a left-wing agenda.

Embracing left-wing causes shouldn’t be difficult for Herring, who launched his gubernatorial campaign by concocting a white-supremacist hate crime scare. My sense is that he would be perfectly comfortable with many of the VBP’s demands. But it might be more difficult for Northam, who has been more centrist in tone. Count on leftists to maintain pressure on the Governor as he embarks on his apology tour, begging for absolution and paying penance with other peoples’ money.

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