It may be time to remind everyone that I am not advocating a position as we discuss so many of these current issues so much as think more deeply about them and to move beyond easy answers to the deeper truths.
The discussion today focused on the long-term impacts when large groups of people are disenfranchised. What responsibility do we have in giving voice to those disenfranchised? A good introduction to how gerrymandering tends to work is to watch “The man who rigged American’s election maps:” https://youtu.be/KpanjJtXqFI and the first two minutes of “Gerrymandering: How politicians rig elections-A Brief History: https://youtu.be/QZZwoObFMhU
The impacts of GOP Gerrymandering have led to States passing dramatic voter suppression legislation. As of March 24, legislators have introduced 31 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. That is 108 more bills than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021, – a 43 percent increase in a little more than a month.
These measures have begun to be enacted. Five restrictive bills have already been signed into law. In addition, at least 55 restrictive bills in 24 state are moving through legislatures: 29 have passed at least one chamber, while another 26 have had some sort of committee action (e.g. a hearing, an amendment, or a committee vote).
- Leviticus 19: 18 “You should not take vengeance or bear any grudge…but love your neighbor” …
- Isaiah 61: 8 : “For I the Lord loves justice, …they are a people whom the Lord has blessed.”
- Matthew 5: 43 “You shall love your neighbor…” And so many more verses.
1. I have heard many people say “My vote does not count.” For the first time I understand how this can and does happen intentionally through “packing” and “cracking.” The people do not pick the politicians, the politicians pick the people who will vote for them.
2. This is practiced by both parties.
3. Gerrymandering has been around a long time. Why is gerrymandering not an issue for election reform?
4. Segments of the population are disenfranchised, and the long-term effects are violence and eventually revolution. The results are often to just give up, lose hope, “I’ve had enough,” or fight back.
5. One has to ask oneself, Why is the issue not that of encouraging more participation in voting and making it easier to vote. That is the key question I want to ask every politician.
6. I wish every political decision, even my personal decisions, be asked through the filter of what is the message I am sending and impact on my neighbor and the most vulnerable among us?
7. As a nation we have become more insulated, less integrated where the plumber lives next door to the doctor, the immigrant and refugee next to the college professors. How can we build more community and diversity? Truth be told, I don’t even know our neighbors.
8. We cannot preach about these issues from the pulpit. They are divisive and do not bring unity. It is easier to be against something than to bring about unity. Does that define who people of faith are?
Just a couple side observations:
1. Americans loved “Open Borders when this land was “colonized”
2. For some thoughts on abortion by Rev. Nathan Dannison. Nathan is a gifted and profound thinker and speaker. https://firstcongregationalkzoo.org/the-beginning-and-end-of-life/