Fair weather reformers

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, April 29, 2020

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Dear Editor:

As a registered Democrat I am disgusted by the lack of progress in the field of partisan gerrymandering in Virginia.

It appears those voices of reform, previously so adamant about the issue, have died down to a dull murmur behind closed doors. Where is the fervor for principle and fairness now that those Democrats previously clamoring for change are in office?

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“For a decade, many Virginia Democrats, some Republicans and many anti-gerrymandering advocates have pushed to take away the General Assembly’s constitutionally-derived power to draw political maps and give it to an outside commission.” Virginia state Senator Frank Ruff wrote that. And he has included the possible problem with this idea in that non-partisan commissions would remain beholden to the state in the cases of deadlock and a few other circumstances. This is a valid point.

However, in his zeal to reject reform, the senator escapes mentioning that those in power drawing the lines is clearly a conflict of interest. Furthermore, conservatives, at least traditionally, boast of their belief in a small, more responsible and efficient government. If they would stick to that principle, shouldn’t they be leading the charge to take the power of the mapping away from the state’s elected officials? Give the commission a chance to do right by Virginians.

If the greatest challenge we face as a nation is uneducated, unprincipled voters who despise one another voting on the basis of their misunderstandings and hate, the second greatest is the government and the media knowing that we are divided and using those divisions to further the interests of those who govern over those of their constituents.

Until partisan gerrymandering is in history books as exactly that, history, we will continue to struggle with the swaying pendulum of extreme politics.

Tom Noehren