Letters for January 27, 2022

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The Macon County News letters page is a public forum open to a wide variety of opinions as a right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Letters are neither accepted nor rejected based on content. Letters must be signed and contact information provided. Views expressed are not necessarily reflective of the opinions of publisher, editor or staff. Writers are asked to refrain from personal attacks against individuals or businesses. 

Authority rests in the body of the nation’s citizens

When a political party runs out of springfresh and creative ideas and when the responsibility and burden of governing becomes too taxing, it must resort to more nonconforming methods to win elections. One popular scheme is known as gerrymandering.  If you’ve lost your moral compass and no longer hold inviolate the best interests of your nation and fellow citizens, and your oath has lost its meaning, gerrymandering is a winning alternative albeit a poor substitute in a functioning democracy.

What is gerrymandering precisely?  The term “gerrymandering” means the drawing of district lines in order to maximize the electoral advantage of a political party or faction.  The term was first used in 1812 when Elbridge Gerry was governor of Massachusetts to characterize  the state’s redistricting plan.  Gerry persuaded the state legislature to create a district in order to favor the election of a fellow Republican.  Because of the district’s unique shape, one critic reportedly observed, “that looks like a salamander!”  to which another observer quipped, “that’s not a salamander, that’s a gerrymander.”  Since that incident, gerrymandering has become a common term in popular political discussion.

Fast-forwarding 210 years, North Carolina’s Republican Party (for reasons stated in paragraph one) is using gerrymandering as their primary “go to” formula for winning elections.  A three-judge panel recently ruled North Carolina’s redistricting maps will not be tossed out.

Interestingly enough, all three judges agreed that both the legislative and congressional maps were “a result of intentional, pro-Republican partisan redistricting”  (the precise definition of gerrymandering).  The judges explained in their ruling that the maps are not unconstitutional, regardless of the partisan advantage they may give Republicans.

There are approximately 2.5 million Democrats, 2.5 million unaffiliated, 2.1 million Republicans and 47,000 Libertarians in NC, according to North Carolina’s Board of Elections.  The new congressional map could give Republicans as many as 11 of the state’s 14 House seats.

A democracy is a form of government in which the people rule.  Americans presume to advocate this form of governing body where the power lies in the hands of the people, who govern (indirectly) by electing representatives to act for the people.  The American government is a democracy and the Constitution of the United States is designed to ensure the will of the people is protected.  At the very heart of our democracy lies the concept of “popular sovereignty” – the premise that the people are the supreme authority, or sovereign, and that that authority, that independent power, rests in the body of citizens, not in one supreme ruler or one dominant party.

Both parties are well aware that gerrymandering is an anathema to the concept of representative government where citizens choose their leaders, leaders do not hand-pick their voters. Too many politicians, however, have long since abandoned any consideration of fairness in their everlasting pursuit of power, wealth and their own self-interest, rendering representative government an illusion.

You will find the facts as I have laid them out indisputable and in the end, impossible to deny.

  

David Snell – Franklin, N.C.

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