Democrats should avoid

governing like GOP did

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Like South Africans’ apartheid experience, Virginia Democrats will govern after years of subjugation. Nelson Mandela did not take up the same reins of governmental subjugation as the Afrikaners feared. He found a new way to govern. With unity of the South African people as a fundamental goal, he institutionalized reconciliation.

Yes, Virginia is not South Africa, but there are parallels. Gun owner fears due to Obama’s election went unanswered, generating eight years of unheard high gun sales. This first time a fear-fueled event is known and we ignore it at our nation’s peril.

Democrats’ greatest challenge is choosing between ruling like Republicans had or finding new, inclusive ways like Mandela did. News of the Democrats' first days of pushing through resolutions on party-line votes and Republican objections that they hadn’t seen the resolution ahead of time sounds very familiar. Switch party and issue names and it’s the same old thing — might makes right.

We don’t see significant action to address voter fears generated by recent election tactics. We don’t see ruling party efforts to be inclusive, to find a middle ground and to address concerns of all the voters.

The true test will be if Virginia Democrats choose not to subjugate and pass inclusive laws. We’ve proven government through bipartisan animosity does not work and establishing party branded policies only incentivizes the other party to win and change them. Politics has become a dead heat on a merry-go-round and its time we got off.

Stephen Mandas.


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