Thursday, June 29, 2006

Redistricting and the "Culture of Life"

It looks like a House Resolution sponsored by Rep. Gosselin, which establishes March 31, 2006 as "Terri's Day of Remembrance & Celebration of the Culture of Life Day," is on the agenda for tomorrow (err... today now). According to the May 30th Gongwer, the resolution declares official support for the "Schindler Schiavo Foundation," which advocates a so-called "Culture of Life." According to the piece, "Culture of Life advocates say the movement opposes abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide, gay marriage and stem cell research."

The MI GOP supposedly prides itself in its advocacy of limited government and keeping the state from intervening in an individual's life. It is completely hypocritical for them to support a resolution that implicitly condones the most egregious intrusion of our government into the life of an individual that we have seen in recent history. I wish our State Legislature spent its time trying to fix our state instead of coming up with new holidays and hot air resolutions.

As everyone has heard by now, the Supreme Court O.K.ed the Republican Congressional redistricting in Texas, meaning that redistricting could happen anytime the sides switch in a state legislature or it is convenient to do so politically. While this can't be good for Democrats in the short-term, I don't see it working out for our democracy at all even if Democrats were the ones that benefited from this. Elected officials are supposed to be held accountable by their constituents, and shouldn't be removed from office because of the political considerations of a completely unrelated body.

For example, Candice Miller's district was carved out for her after the 2000 Census -- she didn't win because of her qualifications as a candidate, but because her district was handed to her on a platter by Michigan Republicans. The Republicans were also able to knock off a couple Democrats by forcing popular incumbents to either battle in the primaries against each other, like in the case of Dingell and Rivers, or force one candidate to take a step back, such as with Barcia and Kildee -- what's to stop them from doing this whenever they want?

We could all benefit from a redistricting system like Iowa's. Iowa's system is cool because nonpartisan staff define proposals for the borders of districts without election data or such as the addresses of incumbents. Some aspects of their system, such as determining geographic boundaries, are actually done before the Census collects or reports population information.

(cross posted on Michigan Liberal)

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