Freedom Defender

Reporting on politics, society, principles, Christian interest and news that intrigues me.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Texas Redistricting: An End to the Legacy of Slavery

There was a lot of resistance to theTexas Redistricting issue. I was surprised there was so much hub-bub about the ability to redistrict. I guess it's just because I am familiar with my history and others... are not. It may just be that people are rusty on their precedents or their knowledge of US law. The issue was resolved long, long ago.

The Texas Redistricting issue was resolved in 1812 (Wikipedia: Gerrymandering). It's pretty old news. But then again, it's not surprising considering that during the 2002 elections, Republican congress-people broke the 130 year reign of Democratic Controlled Texas Congress ("Republicans gained control of the Texas House of Representatives for the first time in 130 years", PBS Article - "Tussle In Texas". It's easy to see that the Texas Democrats are/were upset that they've lost their 130 year, Government controlled monopoly to some Republican underdogs. The Democrat Congressmen haven't had to compromise their power for over much more than a Century.

I guess that's the emotional reason the ol' ruling Texas Democrat establishment is/was so upset. But, the redistricting process has been initiated whenever congressional power changes hands in all the US States. It's been an American tradition since 1812 (almost 200 years - so the redistricting tradition even dates back 60 years before the Democrats started their 130 year reign of monopolizing the Texas Congress).

Elbridge Gerry, in 1812, was the first to construct a strange shaped district in order to enhance his re-election prospects (Wikipedia: Gerrymandering). He created a district in the shape of, most people thought was, ... a Salamander. People balked and scoffed at him for his newly created Salamander shaped district. When people said it looked like a Salamander, one clever person remarked that it looked like a Gerrymander (using Elbridge's last name and merging it with this strange shaped district). The name immediately stuck. Gerrymandering is now part of the English language. It's Dictionary definition is "to divide (an area) into political units to give special advantages to one group" (Merriam-Webster Online: Gerrymander).

There is really only one main restriction on redistricting (Gerrymandering). Federal Standards for protecting Minorities in redistricting (Gerrymandering) were Championed by Republican Senator Everett Dirksen to make sure minorities do not get unfairly treated by redistricting. Republican Senator Everett Dirksen lead the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect minorities from their votes being disenfranchised by Redistricting. 94% of the Senate Republicans voted for it, protecting minorities from racially biased redistricting, and 73% of Democrats voted to stop the protection of blacks (Republican Freedom Calander-August 4th, 1965). This protection for minorities that the Republicans championed, was the only provision restricting redistricting (districts must not disenfranchise minorities). There is nothing in our laws suggesting that redistricting (Gerrymandering) must be done during census years.

In 1967 the Congress passed laws stating that one Representative shall come from one district (as opposed to taking the top two from a larger district), thereby increasing the power of redistricting (Gerrymandering) whenever it is done.

Everyone knows that Texas is a Red-State, but the Texas Congress has not reflected the those views (It's been Democrat controlled). The Texas Congress doesn't reflect the views of the Texas people (everyone knows Texas is more of a Republican State, but Democrats have had the majority in the Congress in 2002), because the old Democrats of the slave days (130 years ago, Texas GOP History) kept redistricting the Republicans out of power every decade for 130 years (PBS Article - "Tussle In Texas"). Since the Democrats controlled the Texas Congress in 2002 (because of the old slavery controversy) and then continued to redistrict Republicans to keep them out of power for 130 years, this caused the Texas Congress of 2002 to be more Democrat. I don't think it's right for the current day Democratic Party to continue to benefit from the pro-slavery stance of their predecessors 130 years ago (especially when everyone knows Texan's views are more Republican).

So as far as my opinion on Texas redistricting. It's been part of our political system for almost 200 years. I guess Texas Democrats thought they were exempt from the political process everyone else in the nation follows (and the process of Gerrymandering in other non-US Democracies). I guess they thought that they were better than these underdogs who were trying to redistrict them. They might have thought 'How dare these people that we've had control over for 130 years, tell US what our future is'.

I think it's sad that the only way that the old Democrat establishment would allow the Republicans to redistrict, is to make them call two special sessions, waste the taxpayer money and then try to illegally run away from the Texas political process by going to other states. I'm sure it's hard to give up power, when you've had it for so long. I suppose I can grant some compassion on them, because it's tough to give up power that you expected you'd always have, when you loose (election of 2002).


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