Liberal journalist Zaid Jilani told Fox News on Monday night that the liberal elite are demonstrating hypocrisy by refusing to forgive Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, over the racist photo that appeared on his medical school yearbook page.
“People change dramatically over time,” he said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” adding that liberals “are undermining their philosophy.”
Jilani called Democratic leaders “unprincipled” for pushing criminal prison reform and -- at the same time -- trying to bring down prominent individuals who've made mistakes.
Jilani said elite liberalism now is embracing narrow modes of thought that he once associated with authoritarian conservatism: joy in punishment and us-versus-them thinking.
He noted to Carlson that he's seen the culture of elite liberalism grow increasingly judgmental and interested in the personal destruction of people with whom they disagree.
Jilani wrote about the left’s xenophobia in action in a recent essay called “Why Does Ralph Northam Deserve No Mercy?”
He wrote about the widening divide between the blue coastal elite and the red heartland: “Someone who grows up with professors or lawyers as parents and attends an Ivy League school where they’ve been through a gamut of race- and gender-studies courses — a common background if you work at an elite liberal (nonprofit organization) in Washington or New York City — simply views the world very differently from the vast majority of Americans, who emerged from environments where sometimes making tasteless jokes is the norm.”
Jilani told Carlson it’s easier for elite liberalism to condemn individuals and symbolic crimes than to fix structural problems and actual crimes.
Jilani asked Carlson why, when one out of three black children in Virginia is living in poverty, a racist photo is the emergency.
“Why isn’t that the national crisis? Why isn’t that a national emergency?” he asked about Virginia’s young black poor.
Northam on Friday apologized over the racist photo in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook, which showed two people looking at the camera — one in blackface wearing a hat, bow tie and plaid pants; the other in white Ku Klux Klan robes.
Jilani wrote in his essay: “Perhaps just a few years ago, Northam’s apology … would have been enough for the governor to be able to move on. We have all done things we’re not proud of in the past, and our most offensive and obnoxious moments do not encapsulate our lives. But given an American elite culture that is regressing to a secular version of old puritanical norms, whereby sinners are branded for life and there are political points to be scored for casting them into hellfire, it is not surprising that Northam was immediately deluged with calls to resign.”
Jilani told Carlson that Northam’s resignation would create a “terrible norm,” and he said the embattled governor shouldn’t resign.
Jilani concluded: “He should apologize to African-Americans, and pursue policy to improve their lives.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.