That Was Depressing

I went down to the Indiana statehouse today to attend a public hearing on redistricting. This is the once-every-ten-years process of drawing the boundaries for election maps. Typically, these events will have some opening comments by lawmakers, and then there will be the opportunity for citizens to ask questions or make comments. Usually there’s at least two sides to the topic at hand, with lots of other spin-off issues as well.

Not this time. Instead what happened was the representatives said their names, and then the public made the same comments over and over again for two hours.

Sure, there were some variations. But basically people said they wanted the new districts to be fair. The lines should be drawn so the shapes aren’t all wonky, so that each district is about equally diverse in terms of race, party membership, and so on.

I don’t get the sense, however, that any of the elected officials care about that.[1] Because if they did, they could have already appointed an independent commission to draw the lines. Or they could have already announced their criteria so that when the Census data comes out [2], they would plug it into the pre-announced formulas and walk away. Or they could have commented on the existing districts and their plan to change them.

None of that has happened. Because even though there were over a hundred people at this event, we are not the constituents.

The money is the constituent.


[1] With the exception of some members of the party that’s not in power.

[2] That’s tomorrow. As in literally this hearing is being held the day before the U.S. Census Bureau does their data release.

2 Comments

  1. AMEN Robby. Until our representative work for their constituents, the maps will never be fair, and they will never listen. They only pretend to listen.

  2. Lawrence Lessig, who I’m a big fan of, also identifies money in politics as a major problem, and founded rootstrikers.org (which is partially rolled into demandprogress.org).

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