Northam? “Off With His Head!” (EP.103)

Ralph Northam

Summary

Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, should resign. But not for the reasons that most people are citing–the outrageous photo on his medical school yearbook page showing youths, one in blackface and the other in full KKK garb. He originally admitted to having been one of the men, and later simply denied it. He is clearly backpedaling, and not telling the truth. Perhaps to soften the lie, he then admitted to having appeared in blackface at least once when impersonating Michael Jackson. Once again, it is not the original action that brings people down; it is the coverup. (See Watergate.)

People who make mistakes, repent and learn from them can be valuable teachers and leaders. Northam has demonstrated neither repentance nor learning. He is simply stonewalling, hoping that the news cycle will forget about him, and that he will not have to resign. And he is the same man who accused his 2017 gubernatorial election opponent of racism multiple times during the campaign.  That is why he should resign.

For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what it means to have made a mistake, repented and learned from it, as opposed to having make the same mistake with no repentance, no shame and no learning.

Transcript

Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, should resign. But not for the reasons that most people are citing–the outrageous photo on his medical school yearbook page showing youths, one in blackface and the other in full KKK garb. He originally admitted to having been one of the men, and later simply denied it. He is clearly backpedaling, and not telling the truth. Perhaps to soften the lie, he then admitted to having appeared in blackface at least once when impersonating Michael Jackson. Once again, it is not the original action that brings people down; it is the coverup. (See Watergate.)

People who make mistakes, repent and learn from them can be valuable teachers and leaders. Northam has demonstrated neither repentance nor learning. He is simply stonewalling, hoping that the news cycle will forget about him, and that he will not have to resign. And he is the same man who accused his 2017 gubernatorial election opponent of racism multiple times during the campaign.  That is why he should resign.

For the next 10 minutes, we will unpack what it means to have made a mistake, repented and learned from it, as opposed to having make the same mistake with no repentance, no shame and no learning.

Today’s Key Point, part 1: Today’s PC culture, PCism, of self-righteous intimidation is doing major damage. PCism should not be dismissed humorously, or even bitterly, as merely a language nuisance. PSism is aimed at limiting and directing our thoughts and speech.

Similar to Strother Martin’s role in Cool Hand Luke, a movie where Martin works constantly to get a prisoner, Paul Newman’s “mind right.” Martin is the Captain of the guards in this Southern chain gang prison. Newman, Luke, is a prisoner. Martin uses his power as the Captain on Luke throughout the movie through intimidation, beatings and worse, to change how Luke thinks. Captain, “You’re gonna get your mind right. And I mean right.” It is important to note here that Luke was not a problem prisoner–at least in the way that most of us would define the term problem prisoner. He was quietly irreverent; he did not suck up to barracks and chain gang guards in the obsequious way that most prisoners did. That’s enough for the power structure to need to come down hard on Luke. Very hard. And all for easily overlooked slights. The specific slights were not the issue; the prison authorities saw that Luke’s mind was running on a track different track than what they wanted. And they saw that thought difference as dangerous. Luke was different. All the lumps in the mashed potatoes had to be beaten out. That’s exactly what PCism is all about.

Pronouns are not the issue. Complimenting a woman on her outfit, or a man on his haircut, are not the issue. Biting jokes or sarcastic professional comedy are not the issues. The gender of the accuser or accused is not the issue. Getting our minds right is. Getting our minds right is the issue. The steps in the process of getting our minds right are clear: 1. Limit what we can say out loud. 2. Make us afraid to even have certain thoughts. 3. The first two result in limiting our actions. And that’s the goal. It was with Like, and it is with us.

Today’s Key Point, part 2: People who make mistakes, repent and learn from them, can be valuable teachers and leaders. Today’s PC Culture, PCism, does not allow for that–at least with certain types of mistakes. This irrational intolerance of and unforgiveness for certain types of past mistakes, no matter how long past and no matter how society and culture might have changed in the meantime, robs us all of a huge pool of potentially great teachers and leaders; people who have repented and learned from their mistakes. All of us have made mistakes. Many of us have learned from at least some of our mistakes. And it is true for me, and I am guessing it’s true all of us, that we learn more from our mistakes than from when we got things right. But PCism, seeing an unforgivable, typically “social justice” mistake, simply wants to eliminate the “perpetrator” not only from any sort of power or influence, but to completely silence them. In Lewis Carroll’s time honored classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Red Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. “Off with his head!” she said, without even looking around. That’s exactly PCism’s approach. That’s how they handle every offense; big or small, real or imagined.

Yes, we must dismiss and disregard the unrepentant; without repentance there can be no learning. And we must honor and value those who have repented and learned (those are two different things). Even with repentance and learning there may be negative consequences for our mistakes. But one of the consequences should not be the loss of those people, including us, who can contribute to our communities and our world as teachers and leaders.

All of this ties to the core, driving principles at Revolution 2.0, which are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; take it, teach it and,
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the biblical question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” is a ringing, unequivocal “Yes.” There is no other answer.

If we apply those two core principles simultaneously, never only one or the other, we will always be on the right path. Depending upon what we face, one principle or the other may appropriately be given more emphasis, but they are always acted upon together.

The Founders, Revolution 1.0, were declared traitors by the British Crown, and their lives were forfeit if caught. We risk very little by stepping up and participating in Revolution 2.0™. . In fact, we risk our futures if we don’t. I am inviting you, recruiting you, to join Revolution 2.0™ today. Join with me in using what we know how to do–what we know we must do–to everyone’s advantage. Let’s practice thinking well of others as we seek common goals, research the facts that apply to those goals, and use non agenda-based reasoning to achieve those goals together. Practice personal responsibility and be your brother’s keeper.

Let’s continue to build on the revolutionary vision that we inherited. Read the blog, listen to the podcast, subscribe, recruit, act. Here’s what I mean my “acting.”

  • Read the blogs and/or listen to the podcasts.
  • Comment in the blogs. Let others know that you are thinking.
  • Subscribe and recommend that others subscribe as well.
  • Attach links from blogs into your social media feeds. Share your thoughts about the link.
  • From time-to-time, attach links to blogs in emails that mention related subjects. Or just send the links to family and friends.

Revolution 1.0 in 1776 was built by people talking to other people, agreeing and disagreeing, but always finding ways to stay united and going forward. Revolution 2.0 will be built the same way.

Join me. Join the others. Let’s grow this together.

And visit the store. Fun stuff, including hats, mugs and t-shirts. Recommend other items that you’d like to see.

Links and References

Cool Hand Luke
Politics and Fun; Something’s Wrong

Watergate

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the blog with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act.  And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Remember: Knowledge by itself is like running a winning race, then stopping just before the finish line.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

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Will Luden

I am your host, Will Luden, former long-time high-tech CEO and Board Chair. I had no idea when I started this podcast that it would become the highest calling of my professional career. Lincoln famously hoped that a government, “…of the people, by the people and for the people…”, would not perish from this earth. My hope, the reason for Revolution 2.0 ”A Booster Shot”, is that a government based on common goals, achieved by applying non agenda-based reasoning to core facts, will allow us to continue to build on our mutual inheritance of a legacy of dedication to seemingly impossible ideals, a legacy that also includes a history of achieving them.
Will Luden
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2 Responses

  1. YourFriendPablo Reply

    Great, I really like it! Youre awesome

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