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posted: 5/19/2014 12:01 AM

Redistricting might tame extremism

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Redistricting might tame extremism

Your April 29 front page coverage of the Illinois Independent Redistricting Amendment was both revealing and disheartening. To characterize it as a Republican strategy, or as Mike Madigan suggested "politics as usual" is misguided.

I have supported Democratic candidates most of my adult life; but to my frustration, I live in the solidly Republican 6th Congressional District, one of the most creatively shaped districts in the state. Democratic state lawmakers drew it with the intention of lumping all of the "bad apples" into one barrel.

In practical terms, that means that my congressman, Peter Roskam, doesn't need my vote or support for anything he chooses to do. It also means that no matter how many times I write, call or email, I never receive a response -- not even a form letter.

It is quite possible that if the Independent Redistricting Amendment was approved by voters in November that Republicans might pick up a few Congressional seats in Illinois. But one thing is certain, if those districts are drawn to make them fair and competitive to all parties, the candidates who are elected from those districts, Republican, Democrat or otherwise, are going to have to appeal to a much broader constituency than they currently do.

One of most disturbing aspects of contemporary politics is the mindless extremism displayed by both parties; the Posse Comitatus, white supremacists and snake worshippers have an outsized influence in one party and the militant vegans, Marxists, and race baiters push the agenda of the other.

Fair Congressional redistricting would bring the dialogue back to the center where most of us live. It is our best chance to bring sanity back to Illinois politics. Of course, Michael Madigan opposes the idea; as the most powerful pol in the state, he has the most to lose.

William S. Hicks


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