Before I decided to vote for Democrats in the gubernatorial election today in Virginia, the Republican I was planning on voting for to be the lieutenant governor was E. W. Jackson. (Read this piece to understand why I’m now voting for the Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor.)
Jackson is a black Christian minister, so he is a natural enemy of Democrats, the party with a historied and documented outspoken hostility to God and Christianity, and peddlers of the falsehood that the GOP hates black people.
On local news channel 3, on the program Les Smith Reports, Jackson and his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam, engaged in their last debate before Election Day.
At the end of the only roughly 7-minute segment, when host Les Smith thanked them both for being there, Jackson, sitting on a stool right beside Northam, extended a hand over to Northam, holding it there in front of him to shake his hand. Northam, demonstrating how unable to “reach across the aisle” Democrats are, ignores Jackson.
At this point, Jackson, thinking that perhaps Northam just doesn’t notice the hand hovering a foot below his face, taps the folded hands of Northam and re-extends his own hand. Still, Northam ignores Jackson. You can tell, based on his body language, that when Jackson extended for the first time, Northam was thinking something along the lines of, “Crap, why’d you offer to shake my hand? Now I have to awkwardly pretend I don’t see you.” And when Jackson then taps Northam, Northam literally begins nervously twiddling his thumb, thinking, “Double crap, now you’re making me look really awkward, Jackson!”
It was a completely jerk move of Northam, but Alveda King, the conservative niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., has offered that it might not have been mere rudeness: “I would hope that his refusal to shake hands had nothing to do with the color of his opponent’s skin.”
Oh, give me a break! Northam’s refusal was not racism! It would be called racism if the political parties were reversed, but that doesn’t mean we should jump on the outrageous-claims bandwagon. If Northam were racist, what makes King think he would do something so stupid as to snub a black man on national TV when he has an election coming up?
Northam refused to shake Jackson’s hands simply because he’s a jerk, not because he didn’t want to touch the black man’s skin. It smacks of desperation when conservatives start acting like liberals in refuting liberals’ claims. And Alveda King knows it wasn’t about race, the handshake refusal; she’s just taking advantage of her status as the niece of a civil-rights leader in order to attempt to turn the tables on the opposition. No one believes it was racism. Even the other conservatives who say it was racism don’t actually believe it was racism, just as liberals don’t believe it when they accuse conservatives of racism.
I wish we’d knock off the hysterics and outrageous claims.