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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
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Texans favor Republican Party

COMMENTARY
Ezra Hood

If I consciously tried to fill a page with fantasies and falsehoods, I couldn’t possibly do a better job than the editorial on redistricting that ran in the Jan. 14 issue of the Skiff. The editors of this paper couldn’t have fit less truth into four paragraphs if they simply quoted Baghdad Bob! Of all the lies and lazy untruths that cover the page, two false premises underlay the editorial and foul every assertion in it.

The first is that Republicans in the state legislature have somehow “stolen” the congressional delegation from the Democrats, and are foisting an ultra-right agenda on the helpless citizens of Texas. The editors warn that “Republicans have only one more step to take before stealing … congressional seats” in the U.S. House. Who invents this garbage? Texans, 60 percent of whom vote Republican, have repeatedly elected Republicans to state office, and two years ago those same Texans sent Republicans to every single state-wide office and a majority of the state Senate and House seats. How can the Democrats claim their seats are being stolen from voters, when the voters are sending away Democrats in favor of Republicans? Furthermore, how can Democrats look at a 60/40 Republican state, and say that a 50/50 delegation in Washington isn’t contrived? It wasn’t the GOP but the chicken-Democrats who tried to steal seats from Republican-leaning Texans when they ran away from their jobs to prevent redistricting.

The truth of the matter is Democrats see their power-base eroding, and have resorted to every sort of trickery to forestall their impending irrelevance. This summer’s redistricting episode was merely the most recent chapter in a long struggle against the resurging right. The left’s strategy in this death-struggle is revealed in the first premise of the editorial — to lie and say that Texans have been boon-swoggled into Republican leadership. This is baloney, and the longer Democrats refuse to confront this demographic change with real ideological reform, the longer they’ll remain the party of has-beens and also-rans.

The second premise underneath this awful editorial is the un-democratic notion that an appointed judiciary ought to force its opinions on the republic, bypassing the elected legislatures. The editors hopefully wait for the Supreme Court to reverse the legislation of the duly-elected servants of the people, writing, “It is too late for citizens to change the situation. All we can hope for now is that the … Supreme Court can … change the voting map of Texas.” Where do these kooks get off insisting that a state’s people should not handle their own election districts? Are the citizens of Texas less trustworthy with their own business than the justices in Washington? Texans, in landslide majorities, are the ones who repeatedly send Republican legislatures to Austin, and attempts by desperate Democrats to thwart the express will of Texas is the only power grab in this sad story. Democrats held the state government to one party for generations, and now that the pendulum has swung to the right they cling on every vanishing thread of influence with a mule’s stubbornness. Thankfully, the citizens of Texas regularly pull these threads out of the left’s hands and give them to the GOP (contrary to the lament at the Skiff that, “it is too late for… citizens to change the situation”) and in November, Texans will have a chance for proportionate representation in the federal government for the first time in decades. Instead of fighting equal representation, Democrats ought to face the truth of today’s political landscape, leave the last century in the books where it belongs, and rejoin the nation in the new millennium.

Ezra Hood is a junior music composition major from Fort Worth.