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LETTER: When Voters Lose

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By commendably including articles and interviews with Robert Sarvis along with the other candidates, Style Weekly is providing readers with an opportunity to become informed about all their choices for governor this year.

Would that the organizers of the debates had been so conscientious. Sarvis has not been allowed to debate in any of these hyped affairs, a disservice to both the candidate and the voters. Although various excuses are given for this rather obvious act of discrimination, it is nothing more than two actors afraid to share the stage, two powerful insiders unwilling to tackle tough questions outside the planned script. Alas, this reaction is nothing new.

As Daniel Payne pointed out in his fine Back Page essay (“Three’s a Crowd,” Sept. 17), the public is constantly being provided with a spectacle of the two major party candidates bashing each other rather than beating their own drums, seeking to gain our votes by vilifying their main opponents rather than extolling their own qualifications. And in their efforts to convince us that we dare not vote for whom, or what, we really want, millions of dollars are raised and spent on vicious attack ads, which the public might deplore, but is force-fed regardless.

It isn’t surprising that two tired old heavyweights, both with a cloud hanging over their heads, should prefer not to meet a rising young contender. What is harder to explain is why our universities keep giving them a venue in which to play their game of dodge.

But what the people do want, and what the electorate deserves to see, are open debates between all legal candidates — this year, and every election.

Robert Lynch, Richmond


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