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  • Johnnie Cordero

SOUTH CAROLINA REDISTRICTING: THE FOX IS GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE.


We have heard much about redistricting lately. We have repeatedly been told, as if it was a mantra, that the outcome must be fair and equitable. But nothing we have heard guarantees that the process will be fair and equitable. This is because it is not. The Fox is guarding the henhouse.


The focus has been on the need to attend the multiple scheduled public hearings so that our voices may be heard. A curious approach indeed. I call it window dressing for the blind.


First Things First:


Our attendance at or our testimony at these public hearings will not change the outcome of the redistricting because the redistricting sub-committee is not required to implement anything that we say. It’s like the oft quoted and oft misunderstood First Amendment Right to Petition the Government for Redress of Grievances. We have the right to petition the government but the government has no legal obligation to do anything. A right that cannot be enforced is not a right but a privilege.


In the end the Ad Hoc Redistricting Sub committees will meet behind closed doors after the charade of public hearings are over and do what they want to do. Which is to protect themselves and their cronies and above all ensure that they continue in office via safe seats or safe districts.


The Political Landscape


Now let’s look at the political landscape: In South Carolina both Sub Committees are controlled by Republicans. Both House and Senate have Republican majorities and the Governor is a Republican. Yes, the fox is guarding the henhouse.*


In short, no legislator is going to redistrict him or herself out of office. The end result will be accepted by the Republican dominated General Assembly and signed into law by the Republican Governor.


So then what can we, the Army of the Unelected, do to ensure not just that our voices will be heard but that our demands will be met. (Wh o are the army of the Unelected?)


Each of the Sub Committee members and of the General Assembly as a whole are responsible to their real benefactors who are, contrary to popular belief, not voters but donors. Donors are those who contribute to the campaigns of legislators and who, depending on the size and frequency of their donations, secure a level of access to our elected representatives that we, as mere voters, cannot even hope to achieve. So in this sense our votes are less important and are, therefore, taken for granted when it comes to policy. Corporate donors are the largest contributors. It's time for a strategy that suits the occasion and has the greatest potential for success.


The Strategy


We must use the strategy successfully used in Montgomery Alabama in 1955 now known as the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Make no mistake about it, it was successful because its impact was economic. It was the economic pressure on the Montgomery City Lines, Inc. that led to the changing of the ordinance that required separate but equal public transportation. Of course, a federal lawsuit helped.


The point is that it began with an economic strategy. If those who truly have the ear of the legislators are truly civic minded they should support fair and equitable redistricting not gerrymandering. We must unleash the power of the boycott, again, because it was simple and has been proven successful.


The names of donors are a matter of public record. Pressure should be brought to bear on the corporate donors to demand fair and equitable redistricting for the people who patronize their businesses and purchase their products.


We must let it be known that any corporate donor who supports these legislators is not supportive of the needs and interests of the people who purchase their products and patronize their establishments unless the legislators do what is right.


We the unelected represent the vast majority of the People of the State of South Carolina. We will boycott your business and your products. In short, if you support them we will not support you! We therefore call on you to pressure legislators to do the right thing!


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