"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard."These words flowed from the pen of H.L. Mencken and hit you with the ferocity of a Kimbo Slice right hook. When you think about the United States in 2009, the quip from Mencken rings especially true when you consider the idea known as gerrymandering:
Every state in the Union has an example of gerrymandering (an interesting slide show of gerrymandering in various states can be found here), and numerous states that have Black people in practice this to ENSURE that they receive a voice. Democracy in action.
"Gerrymandering is a form of boundary delimitation (redistricting) in which electoral district or constituency boundaries are deliberately modified for electoral purposes, thereby producing a contorted or unusual shape. The resulting district is known as a gerrymander; however, that noun can also refer to the process.
Gerrymandering may be used to achieve desired electoral results for a particular party, or may be used to help or hinder a particular group of constituents, such a political, racial, linguistic, religious or class group.
When used to allege that a given party is gaining a disproportionate power, the term gerrymandering has negative connotations. However, a gerrymander may also be used for purposes perceived as positive, notably in US federal voting districts boundaries which produce a proportion of constituencies with an African-American or other minority in the majority (these are then called "minority-majority districts")."
Business Week published an interesting article that discussed the effects of gerrymandering that have directly lead to the creation of a new generation of Black leaders, many of whom remain ensconced in office to this day:
"To most Americans, gerrymandering is probably something of a dirty word. It implies the creation of oddly shaped congressional districts designed to give one political party an unfair advantage over another while creating legislatures that are not reflective of the voting population.
Although that’s often been the case, the racial gerrymandering following the 1990 Census was designed to make Congress more reflective of the voting population by increasing the number of minority representatives.
The courts created new majority-minority districts in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, and strengthened minority control of an existing majority-minority district in Mississippi...
....Examined in this light, it appears that the liberal strength in the southern House delegations increased noticeably between 1992 and 1996. The fraction of liberals in the South grew from an average of 38 percent in 1986-1990 to an average of 44 percent in 1992-1996, Shotts found. “I was stunned by the data,” he said.
Liberals who first won election to the House in 1992 after racial redistricting took effect included Eva Clayton (NC), Melvin Watt (NC), Cynthia McKinney (GA), Sanford Bishop (GA), James Clyburn (SC), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX), Bobby Scott (VA), Earl Hilliard (AL), Corrine Brown (FL), Carrie Meek (FL), Alcee Hastings (FL)."
One name sticks out like a sore thumb in that list of distinguished leaders, Corrine Brown of Jacksonville, Florida:
Black people in this gerrymandered district have done a wonderful job of sending an articulate, thoughtful and intelligent individual to Washington as they continue to re-elect her, even though she lets slip a fact like this (usually reserved for when Black people are conversing amongst themselves):
"Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Brown attended Florida A&M University, from which she received a bachelor's degree in sociology. She also earned a master's degree in education from the University of Florida, where she was also awarded an educational specialist degree. She received a Honorary Doctor of Law degree from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, and has been on the faculty at the latter two schools and at Florida Community College at Jacksonville.Brown was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1982. She served five terms, gaining wide recognition in the Jacksonville area, and served as a delegate to the 1988 Democratic National Convention.
After the 1990 census, the Florida legislature carved out a new Third Congressional District in the northern part of the state. This district was designed to enclose an African-American majority within its boundaries. A horseshoe-shaped district touching on largely African-American neighborhoods in Jacksonville, Gainesville, Orlando, and Ocala, the Third District seemed likely to send Florida's first African-American to Congress since Reconstruction, and Brown decided to run."
"Brown, D-Fla., issued an apology on Thursday for remarks she made a day earlier when she said Hispanics and whites "all look alike to me."Black people truly believe that all white people look alike, but Brown made the mistake of lumping Hispanics into the same stew as whitey, which is an unpalatable mix for all involved. Remember, Black people don't like to admit they are now the third largest racial group in America, after Hispanics.
Brown also took it upon herself to ENSURE that her home was protected from a tropical storm and left her constituents high and undry:
Controversy During Tropical Storm FayeBut Ms. Brown continues to be the finest politician Democracy can find to represent the Black people in the 3rd District of Florida. Perhaps no video in the history of the world showcases the wonderful education system the United States enjoys and the wonders of Democracy better than Corrine Brown congratulating her Florida Gators for winning the 2008 BCS championship.
"On Friday, August 22nd 2008, during the height of Tropical Storm Faye, which was pounding the North Florida area with heavy rain and winds, Ms. Brown called up the City of Jacksonville to request pumps and sandbags be brought to her house along the Trout River because it was flooding. According to Brown, she made several phone calls to Jacksonville's Public Works Office for free sandbags, FEMA and the US Army Corps of Engineers, Home Depot to find sandbags, before she finally reached Adam Hollingsworth on Friday, chief of staff for Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. Hollingsworth once worked for Ms. Brown before this job with the city, according to an article on the Florida Times-Union website.
City vehicles showed up, with a crew of inmates because the city uses low-risk inmates to do work, to sandbag the garage and front door after she was flooded with about a foot of water. Brown got angry with the reporter from Channel 4 doing the interview, demanding that the City of Jacksonville figure out how much it cost and she would "pay the bill" to silence any controversy. According to her neighbor, Joe Deloach, asked for the same help from the crew of inmates sandbagging Ms. Brown's property, but was denied and laughed at by the crew working on the project."
Brown used her allocated five minutes on the hallowed floor of the United States House of Representing (er, we mean Representatives) to bestow upon the Gators a tribute that even Tim Tebow couldn't help but laugh at:
"The University of Florida may be wishing it could travel back in time and reconsider awarding U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown two advanced degrees after video of her congratulatory speech to the BCS Champion Gators hit the Internet, lest they become confused with a Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good and Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
According to the official House Record, the speech was succinct, factual, and spoken clearly in the English language common in the American political arena. What actually transpired broke the time, space, and grammatical tense continuum (this is what your 8th grade teacher always warned about, and why basements are stocked with canned food). If there's one thing we can't shy away from, it's a governmental records cover up.
Rep. Brown (we're sure she's lovely, really) dressed appropriately for the role in a crazy orange silk cocoon. Upon taking the floor of the House, she proceeded to make mincemeat of sentences, the word "offense," and reading comprehension in general. Players and "Curch Urban Meyers" were "gratulated" on their "BSC" bowl victory and subjected to a hearty "Go, Gator!" (isn't this a team sport?). Speedster Percy "Harvey" was singled out for his "gustly" performance. Of UF's quarterback Tim Tebow, Ms. Brown opined: "It is matters the most the pressure he was under." Seriously, Brown has been an elected official since 1982. She can read, right?"
Mencken was a gifted writer and incredibly prescient in his warnings of the power of Democracy to give the people exactly what they want (case in point, Zod-Obama).
Black people have not received a great return on investment from the gerrymandering experiment in the 3rd District of Florida, as Brown has been re-elected time and time again, despite her inability to put together a cogent sentence.
Every time Brown makes a decision, Democracy gives it good and hard to the upstanding citizens of the 3rd District, for Stuff Black People Don't Like includes real leadership from the 3rd District of Florida, as the individual they help send to Washington DC every two years epitomizes why Democracy is the God that failed.