“Making Democracy Work” is all about process, not about “ends.” I came to this realization as I considered today’s topsy-turvy political climate. Those in power seem to believe that the ends justify the means. Else, why would anyone believe that limiting the number of people able to vote in our democracy would produce a better final result?
Why would we deny majority scientific opinion? Why would we limit input on important legislation to members of only one political party? Why would we seek help from a foreign power to dig up dirt on an opponent? In the corporate world, why would an executive believe that increasing profits at the expense of employee welfare would be in the firm’s long term interest? In the political realm, why would we support a candidate who has abused women in order to retain an important seat for our party?
When the League backs redistricting reform in Maryland we are declaring that for us, the means are more important than the ends. If redistricting in our state might mean a shift in the balance of power in the US House of Representatives, we still persist. We hope other states would follow our example, but we believe in the process. (Is this a liberal position? Is it possible for a liberal position to have a conservative result? Ah the beauty of the non-partisan approach!)
At their January meeting your state board voted to have LWVMD register with the Maryland Ethics Commission as an organization which spends over $2,000 per year on urging our constituents to contact their elected officials. As one member observed, the Maryland law is much more stringent than the federal provisions that regulate nonprofits! We took this positive action because we want to operate transparently if we ask others to do so. We believe that the means are every bit, if not more, important than the ends. That’s part of what making democracy work is all about.