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District vote plan is discrimination

I am a registered Democrat in highly Republican Fayette County. I guess that makes me a minority.

For identification purposes, I am also caucasian and a professional female. There are times when I see articles or letters in this newspaper that are so blatantly “biased” toward a traditional Republican stance that I choose just to pass them by. Other times I am open to a different point of view and enjoy the reading.

The key word in the above statement is choice.

I voted for Obama not because he is black, but because I felt he was the best person for the job. I have mostly voted for Democrats but I have voted for some Republicans when they were the best choice (for me).

Many years ago there was a practice of “gerrymandering” congressional districts to discriminate against minorities such as black Americans, but even against designated political parties. This was reprehensible.

Now the same thing is happening in Fayette County, albeit in the opposite direction. What was wrong then is still wrong now. To gerrymander a district simply to assure a black person is elected is discrimination.

Personally, I want to be able to vote on all the potential candidates for the school board and county commission. This is my county and I want the opportunity to use my vote to make it a better place to live and raise children.

I want more freedom of choice then being limited to one candidate when five candidates will be elected to make decisions that greatly influence this county.

I have a feeling that most black residents also want to have greater influence on decision-making than the one “guaranteed” black candidate.

I am a Democrat who also believes that it was time to lift the provision in the Voting Right Acts that required extensive federal supervision for select states (not all Southern) for any changes in voting procedures.

The world has changed dramatically. In fact, artificial districts and even the revered electoral college system is outdated. It is time to have a simple one person — one vote system for elections.

We are technologically advanced enough to assure that this fairest of all systems can be done quickly and effectively. The citizens of this country chose to elect a black president — twice. Surely, it is time to stop assuming that people will make decisions based on race rather than merit.

Give the affected states, including California, the opportunity to prove it. There are enough safeguards in place to assure it.

We are all minorities in one sense or another. I could be incensed that there are not more women on the county commission or in Congress — that is certainly not fair — but it would be absurd to insist that people in a district only be allowed to vote for a women candidate to try to remedy the situation.

Rather, we must encourage and support the best qualified people to run for the job. And we must guard against any discrimination.

There were articles recently in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution exposing the enormous disparity between race and population statistics in city government hiring practices in Atlanta (80 percent of positions held by black Americans). This certainly implied discriminatory practices by the majority black management decision-makers, a factor that may or may not be true.

My point is that we should all give each other more credit. My Democratic friends, my Republican friends, my black friends, my caucasian friends, my gay friends, my female friends, my male friends, my Hispanic friends, my religious friends, my non-religious friends all have their own opinions and are certainly entitled to have them.

I have faith that they will make decisions based on thoughtfulness, but know they will be influenced of course by their own opinions.

I do have faith that they will resist a “follow the herd” mentality and think for themselves.

Freedom of choice is the cornerstone for assuring that this will happen.

Lee W.

[Name withheld by request.]


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