Funny words, cont

This is another funny sounding word whos meaning is anything but funny: gerrymandering.

Texas congressional district 22, pic:

Gerrymandering is done in the context of elections and therefore, almost by definition, one will assume that it is something bad or borderline evil.  And one would be right with that assumption as gerrymandering means the practice of redrawing electoral districts to gain an electoral advantage for a political party.  In other words:  if a party futzes around with the district boundaries in a way that secures them the victory in that district then they have been gerrymandering.

The result of that practice are odd shaped districts and unfair elections.

Gerrymandering in the US has quite a tradition: it was first reported in 1812 in Massachusetts.  The governor of the state at the time, Mr. Gerry, bent and contorted the districts to secure the victory for his party (in this case the Democrats).  One of the districts in Boston ended up so odd-shaped it resembled a salamander.  And so the term was born.

Unfortunately, gerrymandering has remained popular through the centuries and as recently as 2003 Tom DeLay in Texas gerrymandered the heck out of the congressional districts in Texas.  The United States Supreme Court in 2006 thought that this was just dandy and ruled 7-2 in favor of practice.

Ever wonder why people are so jaded about politics?


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