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Memo to Holder: We Only Stacked the Deck a Little Bit


US Politics & Gov't  (tags: women, society, safety, rights, politics, government, law, news, ethics, americans, culture, freedoms, republicans, healthcare, healthcare )

Robert
- 377 days ago - houstonchronicle.com
We don't appreciate you and your boss trying to control our elections like you've done our health care and our guns and our women's bodies - oh, wait. That was the Texas Legislature controlling women's bodies. But don't you boys get any ideas!



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Robert Tomlinson (64)
Friday August 9, 2013, 4:59 am
This is a well written tongue in cheek column, but it certainly gets to the root of the problems facing Texas. Enjoy!!
By Lisa Falkenberg

With all due respect, Attorney General Eric Holder, the Great State of Texas doesn't need your help making sure people down here get a fair vote.

We, the conservative leaders of Texas, take the duty very seriously. After all, representative government is nothing if we don't have the power to choose who best represents us. Don't you think we know that after four years of Obama?

We don't appreciate you and your boss trying to control our elections like you've done our health care and our guns and our women's bodies - oh, wait. That was the Texas Legislature controlling women's bodies. But don't you boys get any ideas!

We here in Texas are ringing in the 48th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act this week by celebrating our newfound freedom to disregard the dang thing, at least the toothy part. Your call for a federal court in San Antonio to keep watch on our voting laws was underhanded, given that the U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled it was unfair to pre-judge us for our dirty deeds in the past. Texas' history of voter discrimination is just that - history.

Sure, we've had a few dust-ups in recent years. Sure, every single attempt to redraw Texas' voting maps during the last four decades has landed us in court, and, sure, we lost every battle. But, I tell you, the deck was stacked. We had the burden of proving we weren't discriminating. It's real hard to prove a negative, especially with a record as crooked as ours!

And don't go bringing up 2011, the redistricting case you like to point to as proof Texas can't be trusted. On second thought, bring it up. We've got nothing to hide.

White vs. black, brown

So what if 90 percent of Texas population growth in the past decade was due to minorities but we didn't add a single congressional district where minority voters could elect the candidate they want?

We held 19 hearings across the state in 2010 to talk about redistricting, and all the Democrats could do was call them a sham. No, we hadn't released the proposed maps yet, so there was nothing for people to give input on and nobody reported back to Austin on what people said. But, by golly, no one can say we didn't hold hearings.

Then, when we finally had a congressional redistricting plan ready in May of 2011, the House committee gave the public plenty of notice on the hearing in Austin to discuss it: almost 48 whole hours. Texas is a big state, true, but Southwest has daily flights from most parts.

As expected, the minority politicians raised a big stink. No, they weren't consulted in the process. But, seriously, what would that have accomplished?

Yes, the map-drawers happened to remove the offices of every black member of Congress from their reconfigured districts while letting the white members add in their favorite country club and their grandkids' school. And yes, the economic guts and key landmarks of those black districts were also removed, things like the Texas Medical Center, the universities, a sports stadium.

Fracked, cracked

Sheer coincidence, I tell you! "A striking one indeed," the federal court in D.C. said so smugly. It was an inevitable list of casualties in a brutal legislative process.

Look, I'll admit, we performed a little "surgery," here and there, but no more than the Democrats did when they had the scalpel. We fracked, we cracked, we packed. We got creative with our gerrymandering artistry: lightning bolts, bow ties, transformers. We broke up strong minority voting communities. We swapped out politically active brown people for low-voting brown people.

Of course, mistakes do happen. We did get caught in one email plotting to pre-cook a final committee report before actually holding the committee hearing. But we didn't go through with it after a state lawyer said the idea was "no bueno." We didn't want to leave a paper trail suggesting to you feds that we never planned to consider amendments from minority lawmakers. It'll be nice not to worry about what you feds think anymore!

We stand by the redistricting of the state Senate, too. We really opened up that process, you know, letting senators peek at map drafts of their districts in a little room off the Senate floor. All they needed was an invitation. It's a shame none of the minority senators got invitations. Must have gotten lost in the mail.

No matter what that federal court in D.C. concluded, our map-drawers weren't liars on the stand. They're artists, merely taking poetic license with the political truth.

And we, the conservative leaders of Texas, aren't racists. We're just partisans. Just dedicated public servants trying to keep our Republican incumbent buddies safe and make sure that ugly two-party system of government never rears its head in Texas again.

Spreading 'em out

At the end of the day, the federal court found no "direct evidence" of discriminatory intent. No macaca moments. No emails laced with the N-word. Only all-of-the-above circumstantial stuff showing we had a "discriminatory purpose." And who even knows what that means?

Bottom line: In the great state of Texas, minorities still get a vote. The Man isn't trying to keep the brown and black people down. We're just moving them east, or north a little bit, and spreading them out some so they don't cause too much trouble.

Plus, we already fixed the maps after the court forced us.

So, Mr. Holder, won't you just let us get on down the road? We'll be good. And if we're not, well, the aggrieved minorities can exercise their democratic rights by voting the bums out, as they say.

Ha! I'd like to see them try!
 

Dave C. (213)
Friday August 9, 2013, 12:47 pm
thanks.
 

Kit B. (277)
Friday August 16, 2013, 7:28 am

Thanks Obama. Free and open elections? Who are you kidding?
 
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