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October 16, 2013

Gerrymandering must be rooted out

The Daily Star

---- — Gerrymandering must be rooted out

Gerrymandering is about getting re-elected. It is more about gaining power and less about gaining consensus. It is more about finding advantages and less about finding solutions. It is an invasive and very destructive weed in grass-roots democracy.

Furthermore, it is providing dangerous new conduits through which powerful special-interest groups can use their often ill-gotten wealth to subvert democracy by supporting puppet candidates, bankrolling the dissemination of false information and disenfranchising citizens who pose an obstacle to their hidden agendas. It is an abomination and should be pulled out, roots and all, from our body politic.

But it won’t be easy. Although a few states have cleaned up how voting districts are determined, many states continue to use the “old boy” (to the victor go the spoils) method, and a great many politicians are loath to give it up. It’s like a drug, and both Democrats and Republicans are addicted to it.

What we need is an intervention. Citizens must learn and politicians must be made to understand that this addiction is hurting the nation. It is a major factor in the political dysfunction we are experiencing.

Our leaders are no longer listening to one another. You can see it every day on TV. When challenged, the particularly partisan ones simply ignore the questions, continue to “stay on message” and just spout carefully rehearsed talking points. When pressed further, they claim as justification to be merely doing their duty and representing their constituency — completely dodging the fact that their constituency is a manufactured witches’ brew of isolated, manipulated, like-minded voters, who, except for the fact that they have been unknowingly herded into separate gated red and blue communities, would certainly be able to discern the color purple that some of us can still see. 

Dan Gomes