OUR UN-DEMOCRATIC DEMOCRACY
In our representative form of democracy, the will of the majority can only be translated into reality through the election of the Representatives and Senators who then exercise the power invested in them to enact laws. To come to fruition, our common desires must be able to flow through the sequential processes of election and legislation. One element of the former is vulnerable to an abuse that can convert it into a choke point.
Each state’s alloted number of Representatives are elected in individual districts, the boundaries of which are laid out by it’s legistature. In order to be able to accomodate the preponderant will, the perimeter of each district should be relatively compact and include a roughly representative group of voters.
Too frequently, however, the footprint will appear like scattered rohrshak blobs connected by varicose veins so as to enclose voters of a narrow point of view. This is called ‘gerrymandering.’ It is possible in states that are dominated by a party which holds unwavering allegiance to particular biases that are out of step with prevailing opinion.
Contemporary means of instant communication broadcast spores of these ideas throughout the country where they can then take root in discrete areas of diverse states with hospitable legislatures. This process may be promoted by monied interests that are seeking to expand their wealth into political dominance. When the number of such Representatives reaches twenty or thirty, this tiny unified minority can exercise disproportionate power in the political menagrie that is the House of Representatives. It’s members have no incentive to engage in the give- and-take horse-trading that has allowd our diverse democracy to actually govern. Representatives elected by these sequestered voters are beholden only to the rigid views of their constituents. Indeed, the ability to retain their seats depends upon adherence to the district’s prevailing dogma.
Such a gerrymandered minority can become a tail that wags the majority dog, with the power to frustrate it’s will. This is not democracy at work.
Let it be understood that those who construct gerrymandered electoral districts are not practising democracy. They are dismanteling it.
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