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Auchter's Art: An endless series of ends justifying means

John Auchter
Michigan Radio

There was a story on Michigan Radio this week about the hearing in Detroit's federal court challenging the validity of Michigan's 2011 redistricting maps.

Democrats and the League of Women Voters are making the argument that those maps, which were created by a Republican-majority legislature, were highly partisan and gerrymandered to give the GOP a disproportionate number of representatives.

To counter that, the two main Republican arguments seem to be one, a Federal Court is not the right place for this, and two, Democrats are just trying to find an easy way to fix their demographic issues. These are not necessarily bad arguments, just not terribly convincing. They seem more to do with deflecting than actually defending something they truly believe to be defensible.

As I listened, I just wanted to say, "Look, if you did gerrymander the districts — and it seems pretty obvious that you did — go ahead and admit it. Those were the rules. That was the way the system was set up. Sure, you could have behaved better, but I don't blame you. I see why you did it. But now's the time to come clean. Now's the time to implement a new system that is as evenhanded as possible and start accentuating your positives. Sell me on your platform. Make a case for why I should vote for your party."

That may be awfully naive, but quite frankly, I'm tired of calling out the Republican Party on stuff like this. Not that the Democratic Party is a paragon of virtue, but when your best and only arguments all begin with "Well the other side...," there is something wrong. It quickly becomes an endless series of ends justifying means. At some point, I should want to know what I'm voting for, not what I'm voting against.

John Auchter is a freelance political cartoonist. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Michigan Radio, its management, or its license holder, the University of Michigan.

Since 1995 John has created Michigan-based editorial cartoons for the Grand Rapids Business Journal, the Grand Rapids Press, and MLive Newspapers. His cartoons are currently featured at MichiganPublic.org and are syndicated to newspapers through the Michigan Press Association. John is an active member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. You can view an archive of his editorial work and other cartoons at Auchtoon.com.
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