peripateticblogger.com

To Blog or Not to Blog

Posted in Politics and Justice by EloiSVM42 on February 25, 2019

A decision point is at hand: to blog or not to blog. The annual fee to retain my domain is coming due or I will lose it. Frankly, I’m ambivalent. I haven’t been blogging much since Cynthia died, and blogging, nor much of anything else, hasn’t seemed as important to me since she passed away. On the other hand, there’s a lot of disgusting stuff going on about which to bitch and moan.

I’ve decided to continue the blog until the next presidential election in 2020, and retire the domain thereafter, whatever the election’s result. During this time, I intend to write about threatened rights, such as freedom of speech and privacy, beginning below.

My position as an absolutist regarding freedom of speech is being challenged currently. There’s some particularly disgusting speech being thrown around today. Hate speech, politically motivated lies to frighten or motivate voters generated by bots, out and out lies about just about everything  from President Trump and resurrected, unfortunate comments about race and gender by public figures made years ago, to name just a few.

Which brings me to Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, who posted a picture of himself in blackface on his medical school yearbook page. Many have called for him to resign over it. I support Governor Northam’s refusal to do so for three reasons relating largely to freedom of speech issues.

First, there is nothing illegal about wearing blackface. It’s offensive, it’s stupid and it’s antiquated, but it does not rise to a high crime, nor even a misdemeanor. For that matter, it’s not a crime to be a bigot, even if Northam were one, which I doubt, because…

Two, in public office, Northam’s actual deeds have been liberal and in my view enlightened on social issues. He has evinced little if any bigotry or xenophobia. In fact, just the opposite. He has, for example, supported moving Confederate statues and monuments from the public square to a museum, which is where they belong.

Finally, popular opinion has changed dramatically, and for the better, since Northam was in medical school. In this new environment, the 80s seem a long time ago, in absolute years (30), and certainly in the light years speed of social change. I’m not comfortable judging peoples’ past remarks and behavior by present standards, particularly when current behavior is so much more enlightened. We grow.

Accusations regarding Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax are a different story. He’s accused of sexual assault, an actual crime. I’m still uncomfortable about judging people’s past deeds in a period when attitudes are changing rapidly, but a crime is a crime, and just because it may have been ignored or tolerated in the past doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be enforced now. If charges against Fairfax are proven, I think he should go.

I don’t know enough about Virginia’s Attorney General, who is also being looked at askance due to earlier behavior, to comment on his situation, but it sniffs of overwrought political correctness from this distance.

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