A Switch (or 3) in Time
Today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch includes an editorial which comments on the announcement last week from Delegates Frank Hall, Dwight Jones and Donald McEachin that they will Vote No despite their votes in the General Assembly in support of the Marshall/Newman amendment.
The editorial compares these Delegates’ decisions with John Kerry’s famous change of heart on Iraq War financing. OK, that’s an easy comparison to make. Easy, yes, but also cynical.
Delegates Jones and McEachin are African-American. Delegate Hall is white, but represents a black majority district. Amendment supporters tell us that African-Americans support the amendment in large numbers. Where’s the political benefit in these public statements of opposition?
Two possibilities exist: One is that African-American support for the amendment is not nearly so strong as many suggest. Four hundred years of focused discrimination and government intrusion into private lives makes it likely that many African-Americans will think twice – or three times – before they approve an amendment which will threaten families statewide.
Or, perhaps, these Delegates did exactly what they said, and made public statements against the amendment because the ongoing debate led them to the inescapable conclusion that this amendment goes too far. I prefer this explanation because it ties in neatly with what I believe. I believe that people of good will – including Delegates Jones, McEachin and Hall – can sincerely change their minds on this important, but very divisive issue. And, I know that many thousands of Virginians will do the same before November 7.
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