[OP-ED] Pa GOP: Gerrymandering, Guns and Deliberate Destruction of Democracy
State Republican Lawmakers Thinks Might Means Right
Deceit is frequently defined as the action or practice of deceiving someone by concealing or misrepresenting the truth.
Deceit is a word that sticks like stink in a sewer to defenses offered by top Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers now scrambling to reverse a state Supreme Court ruling that generated headlines internationally.
That ruling quashed the congressional district map for Pennsylvania crafted by GOP lawmakers in Harrisburg, citing illegal gerrymandering.
Gerrymander is to manipulate the boundaries of an electoral district to favor one party or class.
One defense seized by Republican elected officials attacked the state high court’s elimination of that gerrymandered map as an assault on democracy that harms all Keystone State citizens.
That defense of the gerrymandered map is a misrepresentation of the truth.
That defense is deceitful because Republican manipulation of electoral district boundaries solely to help Republicans actually harms Pa citizens.
Gerrymandering violates the “free and equal” elections provision enshrined in Article 1 Section 5 of Pennsylvania’s State Constitution – a provision noted in that state Supreme Court ruling.
Gerrymander defenders include President Trump and Pennsylvania’s Tea Party GOP U.S. Senator Toomey.
It really stinks how Pa Republican lawmakers who pontificate about their desire to protect democracy when defending gerrymandering willfully disregard the Will-Of-The-People when it comes to gun control.
Republican lawmakers in Harrisburg have repeatedly shot down efforts by local lawmakers in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and other Pa cities to enact even mild gun control measures like limiting gun purchases to one per month.
Lessening large purchases of guns -- firearms that too frequently become involved in crimes that often plague places like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh – is a reason behind one-gun-per-month limitations.
Republican legislative leaders in Harrisburg, continue to push legislation to help the infamous NRA (National Rifle Association) sue local governments that pass gun restrictions, despite defeats in state courts in recent years.
Pa courts struck down a 2014 NRA-support law that Republicans sneaked into approval without the normal process of debates and/or public hearings. Republicans contemptuously ignored transparency.
The 7th Congressional District in the map quashed by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court defined gerrymandering. That District slithered through slices of five separate counties from the Philadelphia city border out into Pa Dutch Country.
That weirdly shaped district visually violated Article 7, Section 9 of Pa’s State Constitution that calls for “compact and contiguous” electoral districts
Republican Congressman Pat Meehan, the former Delaware County District Attorney, currently represents the 7th District.
Weeks ago Meehan was removed from the Ethics Committee in Congress after news reports exposed his secret use of taxpayer money to settle a sexual harassment complaint filed by a young staffer who the married Meehan described as his “soul mate.” Meehan withdrew from reelection after the secret payoff revelations.
Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor in Washington DC, recently filed charges against a group of Russians. Mueller accused them of using “deceit” to obstruct the “lawful functions of the U.S. government.”
Gerrymandering by Pa Republican lawmakers is an obstruction of lawful functioning of Pennsylvania’s governmental and political systems.