After Bernie was out and I expressed support for Jill Stein one of my FB friends responded, “you’re a neophyte, she can’t win.” We had different definitions of winning. With regard to gerrymandering I had a basic understanding of the dictionary definition: the practice of manipulating boundaries to gain a political advantage for a particular party or group.
When I heard we were reading RATF**KED it reminded me of a personal experience. I was working on the health care issue with a group of activists, Private Health Insurance Must Go. I had never visited a congressperson (remember, a real neophyte). By the way, I vote by absentee in North Carolina. Never expected to be in New York long term and thought my vote counted more down there. On one occasion while in Raleigh I decided to visit my congressperson, Brad Miller, Democrat, to discuss single payer. He was not available so I spoke with a staff person. A few years later I returned to visit again and to my surprise was told “he had been gerrymandered out.” As noted, I understood the basic definition, but it really struck home just what the concept not only meant but how it played out in our political lives. I don’t know the exact timing but he served from 2003 to 2012 in the 13th congressional district. Mr. Daley confirms in Chapter 3: “One by one, white, moderate Southern Democrats were pushed aside and replaced by much more conservative Republicans. National names including Brad Miller. . .by 2014 all of them either decided not to run again or went down to defeat.” The racial gerrymandering in North Carolina was described by the court as “almost surgical precision” in the way it discriminated against certain voters. Needless to say, Ratf**ked has laid this out so even a neophyte can get it! If it took three decades to implement as noted in the last paragraph; so, for sure I will not be here to see it reversed. Meanwhile I will learn what I can and do whatever possible in the interim. I appreciate the book, the opportunity to learn and to have this discussion.
Juliette Leak lives in Manhattan and describes herself as “an Independent finding her voice”. She is active with the New York City Independence Clubs.