Gerrymandered GOP Ghettos

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The gated country club communities of old white people occurs on a larger scale as well, the gerrymandered "GOP ghettos" of old white people in congressional districts. The New York Times' Charles Blow has an interesting commentary on this demographic problem. The G.O.P.’s Diversity Deserts:

New And ImprovedJust a week ago, the Republicans issued their much-ballyhooed “autopsy”
on why they lost the presidential election last year and how they might
remedy their problems.

They concluded that their principles were fine; the problem was how they
presented communicated those principles. Their witless wisdom is simply to tone down
their rhetoric. They want to turn Teddy Roosevelt’s famous saying on
its side: Talk softly but carry a big stigma.

The establishment Republicans’ push for a softer tone, however, is pure
political scheming and has nothing to do with what most Republicans seem
to fundamentally believe
.

And many rank-and-file Republicans are adopting this two-faced tactic. A Pew Research Center report
issued Thursday found that although most Republicans say that “illegal
immigrants” should be allowed to stay in this country legally, most also
believe that immigrants are a burden because they take jobs and health
care, and they threaten American values.

Try as you may, you can’t build a philosophical facade like a movie set —
convincing in appearance, but having no real structure behind it
— and
expect it to forever fool and never fall.

Blazing_saddles
The "fake" all-white town of Rock Ridge, from the movie Blazing Saddles (1974)

The true convictions of your heart will, eventually, be betrayed by the disobedience of your tongue.

Enter Don Young of Alaska, a Republican congressman for the past 40
years who this week used a racial slur so vile and insensitive that it
was hard to remember what decade we were in.

In an interview Thursday with an Alaska radio station, Young reminisced about his family’s employment of Mexican farm workers:

“My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick
tomatoes. You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now.
It’s all done by machine.”

The casual reference dripped with an inculcated insensitivity.

The same day, Young’s office issued a statement, which should in no way be misconstrued as an apology.

“During a sit-down interview with Ketchikan Public Radio this week, I
used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm
in Central California,” Young said in the statement. “I know that this
term is not used in the same way nowadays and I meant no disrespect.”

No disrespect? Only a man drained of empathy could even make such a claim.

It wasn’t until Friday, after demands from Republican leaders like John
Boehner and John McCain*, that Young issued a real apology. But the
damage may have already been done. These kinds of statements cement an
image of a callous party moving contrary to public consciousness.

The question must be asked: Why do so many insensitive comments come from these Republicans?

One reason may well be their proximity problem.

Too many House Republican districts are isolated in naturally
homogeneous areas or gerrymandered ghettos
, so elected officials there
rarely hear — or see — the great and growing diversity of this country
and the infusion of energy and ideas and art with which it enriches us.
These districts produce representatives unaccountable to the confluence.
And this will likely be the case for the next decade
.

For instance, according to the Census Bureau, about 6 percent of
Alaska’s population is Hispanic and just 3 percent is black. And Alaska
is among the most Republican states in the union, according to a Gallup report issued last year.

Too many House Republicans have districts dominated by narrow,
single-note, ideology-driven constituencies that see an ever expanding
“them” threatening the heritage of a slowly shrinking “us.”

This defensive posture is what so poisons the Republicans’ presidential
ambitions. Instead of embracing change, Republicans want to suspend or
in some cases reverse it. But the principle articulated by the Greek
philosopher Heraclitus rings true: the only thing constant is change.

With the exception of a few districts, a map of the areas in this country with the fewest minorities looks strikingly similar to a map of the areas from which Congressional Republicans hail.

In fact, although this is the most diverse Congress in history, not one
of the blacks or Asians in the House is a Republican. Only about a sixth
of the Hispanics are Republicans, and fewer than a third of the women
are.

The Republican Party has a severe minority problem. People like Don
Young only serve to illustrate and amplify it. Young is another
unfortunate poster child for a party fighting an image of being
chronically hostile to “otherness.” No disrespect.

* While Sen. John McCain tweeted “Don Young’s comments were offensive and have
no place in our Party or in our nation’s discourse. He should apologize immediately,” he is hardly one to criticize. Just last Monday, McCain said at a Phoenix town-hall meeting that he would not stop using the term “illegal immigrant.”

“Someone who crosses our borders illegally is here illegally,” McCain
said after he was asked by one questioner to “please drop the ‘I-word’”
and instead refer to such immigrants as “undocumented,” according to a
report in the Arizona Republic.

“You
can call it whatever you want to, but it’s illegal. I think there’s a
big difference between someone who does something that’s illegal and
someone who’s undocumented. I’ll continue to call it illegal,” the
senator added.

Apparently Senator McNasty didn't read the rebranding memo from the GOP "autopsy." The Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right group looking to woo
Latinos to the GOP, sent Republican congressmen of all stripes a list of
suggested "Dos and Dont's of Immigration Reform," Hispanic group to GOP congressmen: Watch your language:

The memo suggests that Republican senators and congressmen refer to
"undocumented immigrant[s]" rather than "illegals"
or "aliens" and that
they never use the phrase "anchor babies." It also warns Republicans
against using the term "amnesty" to describe the plan[.]

Of course, the McMedia in Arizona will fawn over John McCain and tell us how enlightened "Mr. Just build the danged fence" is on immigration.

UPDATE: Doh! AP drops ‘illegal immigrant’ from Stylebook.

0 responses to “Gerrymandered GOP Ghettos

  1. Looking at Arizona on the minority map is enlightening. The AIRC was way too kind to Republicans.