Tit for Tat
By Patrick F. Cannon
It should come as no surprise that Republican-controlled state legislatures are passing laws making it more difficult for many potential Democratic voters to cast a ballot. Given the same opportunity, Democrats will make it easier for their adherents to cast a ballot. And both parties are in the process of using 2020 Census data to redistrict their states to protect their legislative seats, both statewide and in the Congress.
Illinois is a good example of the latter. Despite a lot of blather about “fair maps”, the Democrats will carve up the state to suit themselves. As they also control the courts, they have been able to prevent redistricting reform amendments from making it to the ballot, just as they have been able to prevent pension reform. In both cases, the majority of Illinois citizens favor these reforms, and sign more than enough petitions to place them on the ballot. The Illinois Supreme Court, with its Democratic majority, always finds a technicality to stop these citizen initiatives. You have to give them credit for imagination, if not for judicial integrity.
It’s difficult to imagine that all these machinations are what the Founders (that much maligned group) had in mind. The concept of one man, one vote, has been transformed into “I only want to vote for someone who looks like me.” The districts that result from this flawed concept assume shapes that even Eldridge Gerry would blush at. Despite the fact that the US Supreme Court has held that creating districts along racial lines is unconstitutional, they have yet to find a way to prevent it.
My US congressman, Danny Davis, represents the 7th District, which encompasses part of Chicago’s lakefront, much of the city’s west side, Oak Park, and bits of other western suburbs. It was designed to be majority African-American, as is Davis. If you look at the map above, you will see that it’s embraced lovingly by the 4th Congressional District, which performs astonishing feats of magic to insure that it will be majority Hispanic. It is predictably represented by Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.
I have long held the naïve belief that you should select the best person for the office, regardless of sex, sexual preference, race or ethnicity. The only fair map is that which carves up the state (or city, for that matter) into contiguous districts of equal population. A good computer would make easy work of this. How can this seem a revolutionary concept? When the current system produces the knuckleheads who now so badly run most states and the country as a whole?
And let me remind those of you who are so enamored of President Biden that if his “infrastructure” bill had actually been only about infrastructure as generally understood, the Republicans might well have agreed to negotiate, as they stand to benefit from the pork barrel just as much as the Democrats. But, who knows? Maybe the president will come to his senses and make what sandwiches he can from half a loaf.
Copyright 2021, Patrick F. Cannon