Almost forgot about this brief gem.
Last Sunday I was floating through Columbus on my way back to Cincinnati and, being the auditory masochist, was cruising the AM dial. Granted, on a Sunday it's much more nutritional supplements, computer shows, gun shows, etc. and not so much in the way of politics. But I got lucky: I found Chuck Douglas on 610 AM.
Chuck was talking about how the GOP re-drew the congressional lines - as happens every decade - for Ohio, the Democratic Party said "Woah, that's some crazy Spirograph shit!" and is challenging it by collecting signatures to put it to a referendum on the 2012 ballot. And he was very right on one count: it happens every time that the party in power takes advantage and shoehorns their map into law. Going referendum is a little stupid in this count since people will be running for districts that might be vastly different or not even exist after the election.
Of course, he immediately took the right-wing tack by picking whatever fit anti-Democrat purposes: what good is passing legislation if you're just going to turn around and take it to the people? Hrm? I'm pretty sure I've heard a multitude of cries of "shoved down our throat" and "put it to a vote" and "take it to the people" when it came to Obamacare. Of course, this is Republican-controlled Ohio circling the toilet, so the song is whatever it needs to be.
And then something stranger happened: Chuck vilified someone he heard on TV who mispronounced this practice because that person mispronounced and called it "gerrymanding" instead of gerrymandering. Three minutes later THE topic was gerrymandering and it happens every ten years and "there's a word for it because ...it happens on a regular basis." Fifteen minutes later, Chuck had repeated the "word for it" bit of wisdom twice without offering the slightest iota of definition or historical reference. It was obvious he really had no idea.
Quick lesson, Chuck:
Gerrymandering was first used in reference to this comic in the Boston Gazette newspaper on March 26, 1812 (it was also in every kid's Jr. High civics book). The caricature was demonstrating how Massachusetts legislature was drawing a district to favor then Gov. Elbridge Gerry and minimize the impact of the Federalists. As some thought the district looked like a salamander, the combination of Gerry and salamander gave birth to the term that still vibrantly lives today.
So now we all know what gerrymandering is and why it's called that. Yay! Secondary lesson: If you're going to be yappin' yer yaw about something, take a few minutes to pick up the basics.
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