Congressional redistricting should embrace split counties in some situations as the logical reflection of the divisions between people. We know the cigar-chomping leaders will make the decisions behind closed doors and spin their maps as “the best interest of all Americans.” But, a case can be made for putting like-minded people in the same districts because some of us are weary after a lifetime of constant fighting.
Democrats and Republicans don’t understand each other and rarely communicate peacefully. Heaven only knows how many people in south Georgia only have friends away from work who are just like them and that’s cool in a free society. The problem is leaders of one party might make decisions that involved the entire area with limited input or knowledge of others. From home schooling/private school to church, the only Blacks some people know are on Tyler Perry T.V. shows. Have mercy.
During Georgia’s redistricting hearings, the usual suspects bounced up to the microphones to declare that this county or that county shouldn’t be divided because of the tremendous amounts of love and happiness inside those county or city lines. Child, please. Railroad tracks and highways divide most rural southern areas—east is east and west is west and never say they meet. Oh, the Chamber of Commerce types will have you think that all is well and bless their hearts, all is well insider their worlds.
In southwest Georgia, I wouldn’t mind seeing all strong Democrat population pockets placed in the 2nd Congressional district. Yes, the neighboring 3rd, 8th and 1st districts would be even more GOP and that’s fine because they are “balling” down here or as the kids say, they are like “butter” because you know they are on a roll.
In Worth and Tift counties, U.S. Highway 82 neatly divides the GOP northern section from Blue areas in the south. Some would also argue that the Red areas of Lee County deserve placement in the conservative 8th. While I am a cosmopolitan guy with a wide variety of friends and associates across God’s green earth, it sincerely hurt my heart to hear that so many conservatives felt the centrist Democrat congressman in the 2nd didn’t listen to them at all…zero…zilch. Really? I know for a fact that said congressman breaks his neck to hear from everyone and while his final votes reflect the majority of his district, he tries to hear from the other side more that 99% of the southern GOP members of Congress try to hear from the Dem side. When Georgia’s GOP senators dialog with Democrats, instant talk of primary challengers starts.
The fact that Georgia has two GOP senators is a game-changer for me anyway. Here is the logic: everyone has two senators and one House member representing them in Washington. Georgia’s senators are legislatively similar and also similar to most GOP House members. If you are a non-conservative Georgian, you should hope like crazy that you have a Democrat House member to hear your concerns. For me, that’s representation is more important that being connected with the other half of my county.
At the redistricting hearing in Albany, Georgia, Brad Hughes, a promising young public servant from Early County, Georgia, stated that having two members of the state house serving his area was like the best of both worlds. Well, the same logic could apply to congress for the next ten years. Keith MacCants at Peanut Politics asked recently on his blog who should run against Rep. Bishop in 2012 since Mike Keown has decided to seek other office. Hughes, who ran against Bishop in the past, would be better than most conservatives at bridging the political divide. Can he win? No. But he can position himself to be appointed congressman by the governor if Bishop is selected by a president to be a cabinet secretary or maybe the historic next ambassador to ag nation Cuba. You heard it here first and remember that a GOP president also would like a cool Dem or two on his team and despite the noise from last year, Bishop is one of the best peacemakers.
I am uniquely qualified to write about peace between parties because I am a Democrat who supports Georgia’s GOP U.S. senators but please don’t tell anyone or the guys will get primary opposition. If conservatives want out of my 2nd congressional district, I say good riddance and I hope you have the time of your life chilling with like-minded people somewhere else. You should “get” while the getting is good because if Keown couldn’t turn the 2nd red in 2010, it can’t be done anytime soon. Green Day had it right with Good Riddance and Bill Joe was a big Obama support in 2008.
If you ask asked the people south of Hwy. 82 down here if they want to be in a Dem congressional district for the next ten years, they would look at you like you were crazy. Heck yes, they want into the second congressional district and heck yes, the GOP people north of the Hwy. 82 would like to have a safer conservative in the 8th district for the same period of time.