On Friday at a public hearing on this year's Redistricting process, Democrat State Senator Janet Howell, citing Virginia's racist past, said she was glad Virginia had to get the Justice Department's ok on Redistricting. The meeting took place at the Fairfax county government center.
Some background, Virginia is among 9 states that has to get what is known as 'Preclearance' on its redistricting plan. Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, designated states, based on past evidence of racial discrimination, have to get the approval of the Federal government for their congressional and legislative districts.
I attended the meeting, and I knew Howell was a strong lefty, but I was kind of taken aback by her remark. I wondered does she really think her fellow legislators want to disenfranchise black voters? Perhaps she does, but maybe she simply likes the idea of the Obama administration having veto power over the map drawn by the Republican controlled House of Delegates. Either way it shows she has little faith in her fellow legislators, and Virginia.
It is true that Virginia, while under the control of the Byrd Democrats did disenfranchise and intimidate black voters. And certainly to stop this injustice in 1965 Federal intervention in our elections made sense, indeed it was perfectly justified. But since Janet Howell likes to cite history let me remind her that in 1989 Virginia elected Doug Wilder, who became the nations first African American Governor. And since then Virginia has become more integrated and tolerant. We have entered a new century, and Virginia has clearly demonstrated that she has moved past Jim Crow. I would also add that our elections are among the cleanest, and least rigged in the nation..
It is unfair, unjustified, and indeed demeaning for Virginia to still have to keep going to the Federal government every ten years to get approval for our districts. Virginia is not the same state that imposed massive resistance in the previous century, and Janet Howell and the left should realize that.