Submitted for consideration, a hypothetical situation: imagine you are playing Monopoly with two other guys. And it soon becomes clear that those two buddies are in league to ensure that one of them, and not you, wins. Suppose they make a rule and put it to a vote (and since there are two of them and only one of you, the vote is a formality) that from now on you can only land on Baltic Avenue, and Vermont Avenue, and all the other really crappy ones, so that no matter how well you play, you can't do anything to alter your losing fate.
Well, that's roughly what a group of Texas politicians - led by that selfless public servant, Tom DeLay - have done by redrawing congressional districts. By making new geographic boundaries that group voters together in ways that give Republicans the best chance to win the most number of seats, they have unfairly (and, I would say, illegally) stacked the deck in their own favor in perpetuity.
Granted, it's a boring-sounding thing, but if it's allowed to continue, it could affect every single issue facing this nation, and could even undermine democracy and, for all intents and purposes, make this a nation of only one political party. If this Texas plan is allowed to stand, that is, and it spreads to other states.
That's why the announcement yesterday that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case this spring is such a huge decision. There are A LOT of chips on this table. Hopefully the Supreme Court rules this illegal, as they should, and we can exorcise this demon once and for all.
Before you start thinking of me as a partisan person, please be assured that I am not. Bad politics and shady practices are what they are, regardless of who perpetrates them. No matter who does this - Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Muppets, Space Aliens, etc. - it is insidious and it is corrupt. And it is apparently all part of a grand Republican plan to keep themselves in power forever. Read that article and tell me if you think that's how the founding fathers envisioned our system functioning.
If it sickens you like it sickens me, there are things you can do. Non-partisan, non-profit organizations like Common Cause and The Center for Voting and Democracy are surely going to make their voices and their members' voices heard on this issue.
Sorry to soapbox, but this is incredibly important, and the Texas plan stinks from here to Christmas. It's like something out of a dystopian novel. So don't let this legislative funhouse mirror distort American politics. We're too strong and too smart for that - right? Political affiliation means nothing - it's about doing the right thing. So don't let the game get stacked. Because Baltic Avenue is no place to be.