Virginia Governor Ralph Northam refuses to resign after an alleged picture of him in black face surfaced. Northam at first said the picture was a mistake and then later said the picture was not him at all. He did admit to trying to portray Michael Jackson.
According to media reports almost everyone has called for Northam to resign as governor. Northam denies being a racist and admits that he has made some mistakes in the past. He attests there is nothing about who he is today that is racist and that he is inclusive of all people.
At this writing Northam’s future as governor appears bleak with high-powered Democrats in his state and even nationally calling for his resignation.
Did Northam commit the unpardonable sin? Do we as Americans have unpardonable sins? We certainly do not forgive murder in America as people are executed or spend life in prison. Robbing, stealing from people also carry severe penalties. Illegal drug use and trafficking send people to prison. There are crimes that carry severe penalties in our country and around the world.
However, what if your employer decides to terminate you because of something you did 30 years ago? What if you had an abortion when you were 18? What if a photograph surfaces of you dancing on a table somewhere shows up? What if you used some vulgar language on social media five years ago? What if you stole a cookie out of the cookie jar at your neighbor’s house or took a quarter off someone’s desk? The truth is we have all done something or a few things we probably regret. I wonder how many people in America have been disrespectful to their parents? What about the times we told our teachers that the dog ate our homework? How many times have we let gossip slip out of our mouths? Are you really safe from the past disrupting your life and career today? Apparently not. Everyone is in jeopardy it seems.
Most all of us know we have messed up in the past in some form. People today go through multiple marriages and relationships knowing mistakes were made. We go through jobs and careers knowing that looking back we could have done some things differently. We look back through times of high school, college and young adult life knowing that if we had another chance we would likely do some things differently.
Is there no room for grace and forgiveness in America? What about when a person says, “I have messed up and made mistakes but that’s not who I am today.” Is there no room in America for redemption, a new start with old things being put behind?
If we can never overcome our failures, sins and shortcomings in America then we are surely a doomed society. Oliver Cromwell was right when he said, “If we forget the past we are condemned to repeat it.” However, if we cannot forgive the past we can never outlive it.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is the author of 12 books. His syndicated column is read in all 50 states. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more at www.glennmollette.com