By Kathryn Papp, Alexandria (File photo)
To the editor:
It’s difficult to understand the response of some of our local politicians to the voting outcome that put Allison Silberberg in the running to be the next mayor of Alexandria. Is it just a knee jerk reaction to losing absolute power and absolute control, the greatest danger of one-party rule?
Unlike the two-party madness across the river, our city council and mayor have reacted most violently against their own residents, by exercising super majority votes that, despite public discussion, are decided in advance.
It is now even more apparent that any slight variance from certain opinions can provoke near hysterical reaction. Some want to form a political action committee, mirroring the worst of what has happened nationally. The power of the pocketbook to “buy” votes is undeniable. Some sore losers want to rerun the entire vote; if you don’t get what you like the first time, just throw it out. In the end, Bill Euille’s campaign spent more than three times what Kerry Donley’s or Silberberg’s campaigns did. Apparently, some people still believe that holding a write-in campaign, with even more donor money, will change the result.
The question is: Why do these dissenters refuse to accept a fairly cast vote, done legally, and within all standards of good ethical practice? Past mixed-party councils have rarely shouted at one another, voted on the basis of ideology or put together programs skewed toward extremes. In fact, it is one-party rule — Republican or Democrat — on the dais that results in dictatorial behavior. The “enemy” is always residents, who advocate for actions that, when undertaken, actually prove to be superior to super majority opinion in the long run.
So, it appears to be fear of losing absolute power and control that is driving the current reaction of questioning a fair, legal, representative voting outcome. There has been no call for a recount, no appeal to the courts, because it is highly unlikely either would change the voters’ decision.
It is dismaying to see our city’s politicians mimicking national parties’ political tactics. We are a small city with diverse communities, and strong and proud civic advocacy and activism. This is our most valuable heritage, and one that Alexandria is justly famous for.
Bad losers and big money won’t serve us well. Complex, long-term problems need cautious, well-reasoned and comprehensive decisions. Let’s respect the voters’ choice for Allison Silberberg and look closely and wisely at the candidates up for election November 3. It could be a new day.