To the Editor,
Regarding your editorial of 13 November on redistricting:
The political power grab of the men and women elected to represent all of the citizens is most apparent when it comes to redistricting. Only one state of the fifty, Iowa, has come close to applying a reasonable, non-political process to drawing congressional districts. The corruption of the legislatures in the other forty-nine is not only apparent, it is obvious.
In 2011, I had hoped that the Republicans in NC would look back at how badly they were treated by the Democrats for over one hundred years and seek to keep it from happening again. Instead, they sought revenge, doing to the Democrats what had been done to them. The unstated intent of the legislature’s actions is to prevent competition for state and national seats held by their party and, in many cases, to drastically weaken the re-election chances of representatives from the opposing party. The result was districts for the US Congress and the NC House and Senate that are even more insane than those drawn by the Democrats in 2001.
The districts were drawn so that the majorities are overwhelming, packing all Democrats into certain districts and all Republicans into others. The result is that all Unaffiliated voters, Republicans in predominately Democratic districts and Democrats in predominately Republican districts have virtually no representation or ability to influence the legislative process. In my opinion, this is a violation of the “one man, one vote” interpretation of the 14th Amendment.
Our politicians have proven themselves, again and again, incapable of ignoring the security of their own cushy jobs and the power of their own party. Nationwide, the only solution to the corrupt, overt party politics in redistricting is an amendment to the US Constitution which requires that the congressional districts be drawn as geographically compact as possible, without regard to party, race, sex, age, wealth or population type (urban or rural). It should require that no county be split into more than two districts unless it contains more than a single district’s share of the citizens. (In NC, only Mecklenburg and Wake Counties would qualify.)
Unfortunately, I’m too jaded regarding our current political parties to believe that such an amendment would ever be passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification. State legislatures are usually more responsive, but on this issue I just can’t see them giving up the power. It’s just in their mindset, and any member of the party in power who would dare to bring it up would quickly be shut down by its leadership. In short, it’s wrong but not likely to change until we happen upon a near equal party split in the legislature just prior to a census. Figure the odds on that, but it may be a good reason to vote for the minority party in 2020.
Equal and fair representation is a right promised us by our Constitution. Nowhere in that document have I found that the personal and political interests of the legislators or of the members of Congress or of their political parties should take priority. The citizens of this state, and every other, need to stand up and begin a constant, loud voicing that the redistricting process must be changed.