My friend and fellow attorney, Charlie King, wrote with compelling sincerity in his Aug. 7 piece calling on all Loudoun voters to vote on principle, not on party. I respect him for his courage and I join him in that call. It has been my life-long practice, even costing me membership in my own party's local committee. But that's simply our duty as good Americans.
Where I differ, slightly, from Charlie's perspective, is on the issue. He asked us all to vote "guns." When our legislature met for all of two hours before the Republicans stonewalled any action on gun safety in Virginia, they were able to do so because they had gerrymandered the house districts to hold onto a majority they do not deserve to have. In every statewide election after 2009, Virginia has chosen a Democrat. It is an insult to democracy and to the rights of Virginians that our legislature so badly misrepresents who we are and what we want. But, rather than respect any of the sensible proposals made for decades, our politicians ignored fairness and their constitutional duties. Instead, they drew district maps that make no sense, have no justification, and serve no other purpose than to keep Republicans in power.
There are more issues of importance to Virginia than just the acutely important issue of guns. Personal liberty, social equality, community security and others remain as critical to our welfare as they ever did. But none of those, not even guns, are as important to a democracy as democracy is itself. With the next census coming, this is the time to undo the damage done to Virginia's democracy after the last census. Our laws will never reflect our values until our legislators reflect our electorate.
So, like Charlie King, I will be voting on one issue. But it won't be guns. I will be voting on the democratic process. All Loudoun voters should do the same. If we elect a legislature that will draw fair boundaries for our districts, then we can be confident that the gun laws and other policies a majority of us want will finally be passed. If we don't, then we will be governed for another 10 years by a craven class of rulers who only care about their power, not about their people.