|Redistricting is what makes our small world spin. Minus the China stand off,
tasteless police emails; tax and budget cuts; racial profiling: fuh-get all
about it. With Census numbers out, let's pile into those franchise coffee
houses over steamy cups of Chai and pontificate about how we get pimped this
time of every century.|
To mention the term, however, is introducing a foreign language. Confusion
rears its vexed head when thrown to the wolves of misinformation and virtual
unknown. Ignorance reigns. Silent screams of incredulity - "What's that?
Who?" The explanation is lost in universal astonishment, spun on yarns of
hype, bugged out by that back-alley biathlon of Biblical bile and bigwig
It's that time of the decade when partisan baritones reach chalkboard
scratching crescendo ending time, reason, fairness, justice and maturity as
we all know it. But, if only we did know - since certain segments of the
general population, have little to no control over their determined political
fate. Redistricting is the where the power is @ ...
We get left behind and mad caked in wet dust saturated by the monsoon size
insanity of the contemporary body politic. The decennial Census is mixed and
matted in the microphone mathematics of partisan antics. Capitol Hill grows
tentacles and the Potomac stretches its polluted waters like the Dark Side of
The Force. Minneapolis lawyer David Lebedoff dubs it Democracy in a Noose:
"Soon lines will be drawn to ensure another undemocratic decade." Hence,
redistricting is as important an issue as why the sky is blue.
Driving that point further is D.C. and neighboring Virginia as crusty cases
in point. Once you swerve, tilt and tumble like a crashing SUV turning at 90
degrees, you'll then find yourself wading in flammable liquids while
deciphering State and Ward battle-lines. Already, the Great Eight Wards may
get bunched together like salty commuters on a 6pm Metro - conversations soon
switch from loss of urban subsidies to the phobia of gentrification moving
mach speed. The underbelly of the post-Census beast is underlying
preoccupation with the perceived threat of Chocolate-City-No-More: a
conquering scourge of White yuppies strategically supplemented by rising
tides of Hispanic and Asian immigrants.
But, in times like these, it's the coalition-building, political
power-broking and economic planning that really count.
Virginia ranks high on the smell of sour milk and rhetoric scale. "There
certainly must be political motives in every plan that ever existed,"
Virginia House Speaker S. Vance Wilkins (R-Amherst) recently schooled
reporters in response to accusations of majority Republican state assembly
shenanigans during the state redistricting battle with Democrats. "I'd be
telling you a damn lie if I didn't say that." Like thirst obeying a can of
Sprite, Wilkins' candor is "damn" refreshing, despite remanding Republican
redraws potentially plundering modest homes scorched by the unwelcome
ideological firebombing of modern conservative fundamentalism. But, hey,
let's call the spades: VA. Democrats once went stir crazy foul with the
redistrict cut and paste while they boasted Zeus' perch atop Richmond's
Olympus. Karma sucks ... particularly when state party leaders dream to
please Congressional grandmasters with perks for the larger reapportionment
shuffle - huh? Sorry peeps - same page, different column ...
This discomforting cycle of partisan pillow fights dictating the uncertain
fate of taxpaying you and me is leeching life from that fragile vein we call
"democracy." Lost in all the bickering is any consideration for Joe and Jane
voter - instead, it's the total focus on re-election bids and spread of party
influence. Let's wager for a moment that 5 year-olds could draw it better
because at least they learn how to share the crayons.
Next bout of rage: reapportionment.
C.D. Ellison is a contributing writer to Metro Connection. Please feel free
to contact him by email - firstname.lastname@example.org - or phone: