Out of chaos


Lock Haven

A recent state Supreme Court decision has changed congressional voting districts. There is a court appeal to this decision now under consideration. All this very significant activity has muddied the waters for the upcoming primary election. It is painful and confusing, but we all should applaud those who take it in stride and act appropriately. Since fair voting maps are supremely important, we all must grin and bear it. This court decision attempts to correct the corrupt results of gerrymandering which all too often cheats citizens of their vote. It is a reasonable first step in moving forward.

It must be said that gerrymandering is a foul stain on the fabric of our democracy and our beloved republic. One person, one vote, and every vote counts are perhaps, the aortic valve of the heart of our country. It has been said that our democracy is the worst system in the world except for all the others. It is, indeed, messy at times but in spite of that, like most Americans, I love it!

Sen. Joe Scarnati, the pro tempore of the state Senate, along with the speaker of the House, issued a statement that said the state Supreme Court does not have the authority to invalidate the power of the politicians in the state Legislature. I’m sorry, but the Supreme Court is tasked to interpret the supreme law of Pennsylvania, that is, the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Constitution clearly states that voting districts should be compact, contiguous, and should not divide communities of interest except when justifiably necessary.

Any look at the previous map, with the 7th District shaped like Goofy kicking Donald Duck as but one example, clearly shows this constitutional mandate was not met.

It also must be pointed out that the Fair District Pa. initiative, while dealing with the same issue, is quite a separate action. Fair Districts Pa. strives to permanently change the very way voting district maps are drawn.

The goal is to completely remove political bias from the process.

It calls for an independent citizens committee to draw the district maps, favoring neither Republicans, Democrats, nor any other political entity. It is nonpartisan. It is patriotic. If you wish to show your support please contact your state representative and state senator and tell them to support Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722 to help get them out of the State Government Committee for a floor vote.

Fighting for this necessary reform brings with it a somewhat chaotic situation for Democrats, Republicans, and third parties alike. In reality, there will never be a good or easy time to end this most unfair tactic. Additionally, it is absolutely unconstitutional, and as such, it is mandated by law that it must be ended immediately. Meaningful growth is, at times, painful, but we must accept this challenge as we work together to strengthen our great country.

All this causes me to think of the phoenix, the magnificent bird arising from the fire and ashes. I am also reminded of a movie line I once heard, “We have to suffer to be born again.” I, for one, am excited at the prospect, born again, a rebirth of our democratic process.