Throughout my time in both grammar and secondary school, there were both some good times as well as some bad times; which I am sure we all can attest to. To say that I don’t wish for those simpler times every now and again would be an understatement. But I do realize that all was not peaches and cream. For example, in kindergarten one of the good things that comes to mind were the afternoon naps after the lunch period, one word; amazing. Wow, even as I type at this very moment my mind returns back to Mrs. Johnson’s class. Man do I miss afternoon naps after lunch. However, in hindsight, the bad part is that most of us woke up with spit and slobber slathered all over the sleeping mat. But what is worse, is that I don’t remember the sleeping mats being assigned to us individually. Also I can’t recall if whether or not the sleeping mats were sanitized each day. Maybe or maybe not. Yuke! Regardless of those times in my life, both good and bad, the moments are etched in the folds and fabric of my brain even till this very day. This is despite the numerous amounts of ammunition shot and heard while serving as a Marine, the amounts of celebratory and social libations consumed during those days, or the amount of high school students who on any given day call my name as they enter or exit the school each day. Again, I can never forget those moments from kindergarten. Did I forget to mention that those moments are ones that I will never forget?
So, imagine the shock on my face when Virginia’s Democratic Governor, Ralph Northam, decided that he is now certain that the racially insensitive photos which he previously admitted to and apologized for, are in fact not him. Now for those of you who are clueless on the matter of which I am referring to please allow me to brief you. Last week a college yearbook photo, bearing the name of the now troubled Virginia Governor, from 1984 surfaced. In the photo two individuals, one wearing KKK apparel and the other in black face, appear to be in celebratory mode as they poise for the shot. Honestly, his retraction doesn’t shock me one bit. What is shocking however, is that with the advances in technology over the last several decades, that the photos are just now surfacing. Perhaps even more shocking is the Governor of Virginia is either so arrogant or cowardly, that he thinks that his constituents will allow him to back track from his admittance. Again I stand corrected, because some of them are allowing for him to do just that. Yet, that is a topic for another post.
Ralph Northam actions over the past few days are both par for the course when it comes to politicians and only strengthens the notion that neither political side, when confronted with truths, can be expected to do what is right. What ever happened to the days of “owning up” to the things, which you know that you should “own up to,” when you are wrong? I teach my son as well as my students about character each chance that I get. I let them know that it is easy to do the right thing when all eyes are on. However, who you really are will rise to the occasion when you act in situations when you think that no one is watching. A photo, a phone call, or something as simply as a piece of candy that you thought would not be missed; it all goes back to character. So, to the character in the photo from 1984, since you showed no character by taking those photos because you probably didn’t think no one was watching; you now have the chance to do what is right when millions of eyes are on you. You are given a chance to display traits of having good character. Or perhaps the person who you say is not you in the photo is in fact, your true character.