Gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating district boundaries in such a way as to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group.
Suppose I was to tell you that a political party could sway the scales to pick the winner of an election before it even happens. Surely you would agree with me that this would not be a good thing to happen.
I think I must be a little innocent (or a trifle dim), but it never struck me that this sort of thing would take place in a bastion of democracy like the USA. How foolish I was. Recently, however, my eyes were opened when I saw this episode of Adam Ruins Everything in which he explains the concept of gerrymandering.
According to the Wikipedia, the word gerrymander was created in reaction to a redrawing of Massachusetts state senate election districts under Governor Elbridge Gerry in 1812. This scoundrel signed a bill that redistricted Massachusetts to benefit his democratic-republican party. When mapped, one of the contorted districts in the Boston area was said to resemble the shape of a mythological salamander.
The bottom line is that gerrymandering is the practice of manipulating district boundaries in such a way as to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group, thereby helping of hindering a particular demographic, such as a political, ethnic, racial, linguistic, religious, or class group.
I saw the episode on Adam Ruins Everything several months ago, but then I forgot all about it. It was only when I was driving into work a few days ago that I heard a report on the radio about some area that had recently been so gerrymandered by the party in power that, even though the other party now had close to 1,000,000 more supporters, that second party now had almost zero chance of winning anything in any forthcoming elections.
Doing something this low and despicable would simply never occur to me. From when I was a very little lad, my dear old dad brought me up to know that, "It isn’t whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game."
I don’t know about you, but this sort of thing makes me angry. In an ideal world, politicians should set a higher standard for the rest of us to follow. When they become embroiled in these kinds of shenanigans, it diminishes them, their party, us citizens, the country, and the very fabric of democracy. Any politicians that would stoop this low should be thrown out of their party and shunned as the bottom-feeding scum they are (and I say this with love).
I'm sorry. This has gotten my gander up (or dander if you prefer). What say you? Is this just "the cost of doing business," or does this sort of thing distress you as much as it does me?