Now is not time for politics

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 18, 2011

Call us silly, but we are going to say it anyway — the Mississippi Legislature must set politics aside.

As the clock ticks on a redistricting plan, partisan politics are again leading the way. Redistricting is a nasty political game in itself, since legislators in office want to draw lines that will benefit their own campaigns.

The Senate plan is decided, but both sides are still arguing over a House-redistricting plan. The Democrat-led House has passed a plan that Republicans argue is far too unfair to the GOP.

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Democratic House Speaker Billy McCoy is insistent that the Senate approve the plan simply because it’s been tradition that each branch approve the other’s plan.

But decisions with decade-long implications should not be made on tradition, Mr. McCoy.

Legislators must sit down and map out a plan that is fair and logical to the majority of Mississippians. The plan needs to be sent for U.S. Justice Department approval quickly so that the upcoming election season isn’t later challenged and redone, costing state taxpayers thousands of dollars.

Is it foolish to expect elected officials to put their party affiliations aside and make a common sense decision?

Perhaps, but only if you have low expectations for the people — and leaders — of Mississippi, a trait for which we do not lay claim.