REF Speaks: Re Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia and The tyranny of Zeitgeist


By Robert Field


Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Scholars have long maintained that each era has a unique spirit, a nature or climate that sets it apart from all other epochs. In German, such a spirit is known as “Zeitgeist,” from the German words Zeit, meaning “time,” and Geist, meaning “spirit” or “ghost.” Some writers and artists assert that the true zeitgeist of an era cannot be known until it is over, and several have declared that only artists or philosophers can adequately explain it. We don’t know if that’s true, but we do know that “zeitgeist” has been a useful addition to the English language since at least 1835. Merrian Webster Dictionary

The predicament of Democrat governor of Viriginia, Ralph Northam, is an example of the tyranny of the moment.

Here we have a public servants called to resign over an indiscretion made thirty years earlier as a college student.  Moreover it was at a time when today’s sensitivity to certain forms of racism was not nearly as defined.

Northam’s youthful offense was portraying at a college costume party the then popular African-American entertainer Michael Jackson , including ‘black face.’  How else would you portray Michael Jackson?  At best a parody; a worse bad taste.

No one would give it a second thought today had he appeared as Frank Sinatra or Georgie Jessel.   And even if he had shown the terrible judgment of coming as Adolph Hitler, would that outweigh all the positive things he has done over the past thirty years?

Even if we grant Northam’s critics the premise that the governor was bigoted at the time, so what?   Who among us has not held views or done things in our youth that we retrospectively regret.  Let he or she “throw the first stone.”

MSNBC disgraced itself early this morning by interviewing three persons, all who called for resignation by Gov. Northam.  It didn’t even provide balance by having comment by someone with an opposing point of view.

Shame on all who thoughtlessly and often maliciously hound and destroy adults for youthful indiscretions.

Updated: February 4, 2019 — 5:38 pm