At what price power?
Lucille Harvey, is the AAUW-Wausau President
On January 21, 2022 concerned citizens from the Wausau area bravely weathered frigid temperatures to stand outside and raise their voices with “End Gerrymandering Now signs.” AAUW spoke in favor of valuing people’s right to have their legally cast votes counted and fair maps developed for our beloved state.
For 140 years on the national level, and 100 years in Wausau, AAUW has advocated for women and girls. One thing we have learned is that, unfortunately, voting rights are never “a done deal” in our country.
Way back in 1870 the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteed protection against racial discrimination in voting. It was only in 1920 that women gained the right to vote.
Why were these measures so important and why were they so difficult? Sharing power seems to be the challenge. A strong democracy benefits from people having the right to be heard and to be included when decisions are made. That means not only being present, but having equal treatment and having their legally cast votes counted.
People across Wisconsin have spoken. The injustices of anti-voter bills do not reflect the will of the people. The people want to end gerrymandering, the practice of excluding legally cast votes and thereby the people who believe in our government and cast those ballots.
Legal votes should be respected. In a gerrymandered state, elected officials would not have to answer to their constituents. Once again, our concern is that those in power are unwilling to allow others to have a role.
In addition to gerrymandered maps, a very troubling trend is occurring in our country. The highest and most respected font of wisdom is to reside within our Supreme Counts – both federal and state. These courts are being politicized and their votes are following political lines. This should not happen; neither Democrats nor Republicans are right all the time. We need officials who will review all sides of an issue and vote wisely.
Now is the time to listen to all our legal voters and decide what is right, not what is politically expedient or politically beneficial, but what will strengthen our county by including all voices where decisions are made.
It is time to re-think the issue of power and control. Sharing power offers the chance to hear multiple perspectives, beliefs, and experiences. It also offers the chance to let others bring their energies to help lead.
It is time to end gerrymandering, the practice of excluding legally cast votes and the people who believe in our government and cast those ballots. Legal votes should be respected.