What We Did to Michigan on Election Day, November 8th 2000

Question: What do you get in a state with a Republican legislature, a Republican governor, and a Republican State Supreme Court in a year ending in zero?

Answer: Voting districts drawn up in whatever manner the Republicans want them.

This is a census year. While Michigan supported the lesser evil of Democrat Al Gore in the national election, we have collectively chosen to hand over majority rule of our entire state government to the Republicans. After a census, voting districts are redefined in order to account for changes in population. This reapportionment is passed in the form of a bill like any other legislation. This bill requires the approval of the governor. If the minority voice in the legislature wishes to contest the lines defined by the majority, the only place to which they can appeal is the state Supreme Court, in this case also run by Republicans.

There is real concern here because American politicians have traditionally engaged in a practice called gerrymandering in which the districts are defined in order to weaken minority voices. In a ghetto that would naturally comprise a distinct community, the community can be weakened by drawing a district line right through the middle of it, splitting it in twain and subsuming it into a larger area so that what would have comprised a majority had the lines been honestly drawn becomes an ineffective minority.

I am not saying that our representatives will engage in such a dishonest practice. After all, we voted with our hearts this time, ensuring that only the brightest and best candidates with the highest integrity secured positions of authority. Despite that, for some reason I don't really trust them. I know, you must think I'm a bit paranoid. The Republican Party is a progressive party. They have been consistently leading us to a bright shining future for a pluralistic culture. I suppose we have nothing to fear, but I will be watching this.

Alan Wescoat