Lately, “divisive” has become an often overused word in our political arena. Facebook users can find an immature sounding ode of the times: “Republicans are Red, Democrats are Blue; our politics don’t match, so I’m unfriending you.” As a result, our friends list shrinks as strong opinions and disagreement flush away any civil communication.
What then, can the average citizen do to tighten the gap dividing us? One issue that all parties can tackle together is gerrymandering. The Tribune has been prolific in detailing the effects of this unfair procedure. Currently, a state commission formed by Gov. Tom Wolf, is gathering ideas for possible improvements of drawing our state’s voting map lines – redistricting. This is something all parties can agree is a worthy objective. Surely, all parties should want or demand policies that curb gerrymandering. (Current law does not mandate how the districts should be redrawn).
Once a decade, the maps are redrawn to reflect population changes. Congress declares: districts must contain “as nearly as practicable an equal number of inhabitants.” These maps need to be drawn fairly, with no favor to any particular party. Voters must demand transparency and help support the Governor’s Commission.
By early fall 2019, the reform commission will issue recommendations to the governor and general assembly leaders. Please let this commission know you are in favor of these efforts. Let us unite on this issue and make gerrymandering an obsolete word in the commonwealth.