Letter: Redistricting process should be independent - The Buffalo News

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Letter: Redistricting process should be independent

Redistricting process should be independent

In 1812, then Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts in such a way as to greatly benefit his political party. What made his process unique was that when you drew the boundaries of his redistricting plans on paper, the drawing resembled something like a salamander; and thus the portmanteau “gerrymander” was coined. Gerry excluded large portions of the opposing party’s electorate and purposely zigged, zagged, twirled and twisted so that the resulting political map would heavily favor his party’s ideological positions and made it practically impossible to be voted out of office in the future.

It worked so well that they still use it today, with perfection! Some districts now resemble imbalanced Rorschach test images or chicken-scratch portraits with little regard for the needs and rights of the “others.” An entrenched majority mimics a monarchy in that the invulnerable incumbents rule as by inheritance or divine mandate. Many believe that the extreme animosity currently expressed between and within the political bastions of reason are simply the expected results of the ultra-homogenous posturing that gerrymandering encourages clashing with a growing and progressive heterogeneous social order. It’s kind of a domestic xenophobia.

Redistricting should be a process totally separate from political influence. It should be independent, nonpartisan and subject to scrutiny. Simple geometric patterns similar to the way our states were formed should be a goal, and rather than include an uneven majority, the districts should be designed to contain, as close as possible, a fifty-fifty apportionment of the major parties; keeping in mind the various minority factions of the voting populace. In this way, incumbency would be earned rather than maneuvered.

How can any one of us, with our hand on our heart, pledge “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” as long as we allow this ultra-partisan policy to continue?

Robert J. Wegrzynowski


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