By Joe Rector

The world is a cold place. Well, this globe and nature aren’t necessarily that way; neither cares one whit about humanity. However, it’s we who are supposed to be the masters of all other species who are so hardened. That’s proved itself once again recently.

Now, to begin with, let me assure everyone who might even briefly glance at this piece that I am not a racist. I believe in equal rights for all people. I recognize that for too much of our nation’s history that black people have been treated unfairly. I also understand that the solution to the immigration problem is not separating children from their families or building a wall.

With all that said, I’ve heard enough of the shock and disgust about the actions of Virginia governor Ralph Northam. His appearance in a photo where one individual is clad in a KKK uniform and the other’s face is painted black has swamped the news. The man first apologized for being one of those persons in the photo, but a day later, he denied he was even in the picture. The main problem is that he can’t get his story straight. Perhaps that speaks about his ability to lead the state.

What I take exception to in this whole situation is the lack of understanding by people. Was painting his face black a dumb mistake? DUH! Of course, it was. However, the incident occurred 35 years ago. The man was 25 years old. Additionally, he was in medical school, a college boy.

None of those things makes his painting his face black all right. However, they all go together to explain why he did what is now a disgraceful thing: the man was a young, stupid, goofy, college kid. Those who have spent any time on a college campus have witnessed plenty of moronic acts by students.

I remember during my years in college that “streaking” found its fame. Drunk guys stripped and ran across the main quad during evening hours. I seem to recall that UT students ran buck-naked down Cumberland Avenue.

I also recall hordes of male students marching to the girls’ dormitories. They stood in the parking lot and chanted for females to throw out their windows panties and bras. Some more brazen males attempted to sneak into dorms and steal those items.

I don’t know Northam’s intentions, but I suspect they were more the result of stupidity than evil. Is that a reason to damn the man 35 years later? If so, then each of us should tremble with fear that our youthful indiscretions and poor choices will at some point be held against us.

Folks, do you think this man, or any other person, who has ambitions to serve in an elected office would ever knowingly pull such a stunt? An even more important question is this: are we to be held accountable for the bone-headed things that we do as teens or young adults? Heaven forbid if that happens.

None of us, regardless of color, is without fault. I remember something in the good book that says, “judge not, lest ye be judged.” I also recall the line, “Let ye who is without sin cast the first stone.” Our hyper-sensitive world today has become intolerant of any mistakes.

I don’t know much about the governor of Virginia. He might be the worst governor in the state’s history. However, he shouldn’t be forced to resign for a stupid act from 35 years ago. If he is run out of office, then every person should be ready to suffer the harshest consequences of his or her misdeeds from during their youth.

We have lost our way. We are too sensitive. I’m not prejudiced against any group of people, but I don’t believe a person’s youthful mistakes should haunt him forever.