There is a saying that “people get the government they vote for.” The implication of the maxim is that if undesirable or unwise legislation is enacted, if executive branch officials are inept or ineffective, or if the government is beset with widespread corruption, then such unfortunate results are the consequence of the electorate’s decision regarding whom to trust with the powers and prestige of public office. The Constitution does not forbid people from enacting wrongheaded policies. If voters elect leaders that fail them, then the citizenry is saddled with the consequences of its choice until the next election. Such is the reality in a democratic republic.
The redistricting process is inherently political and typically takes place every 10 years after the results of the decennial Census are delivered to the States. Its goal is to reallocate (“reapportion”) the population of each jurisdiction with elected representative bodies so that the population of each district is approximately equal to that of all others. That reapportionment is accomplished by changing the boundary lines of the existing districts. And, all of that should be done in compliance with constitutional standards and laws.
This paper describes the process of redistricting and addresses the constitutional and legal standards that govern it.
“The Founders of our Country gave us a great Constitution, which established the structure of our government and the principles for operating it. But the Constitution does not belong to the government; it belongs to the citizens of our nation. That is why it begins, ‘We the people.’ To enable us to understand and use the Constitution, the American Civil Rights Union has published an ‘Owner’s Manual,’ which explains the various provisions of our Founding Document and how it affects us all. In an entertaining and informative way, the Constitution becomes real for the listener. It is an invaluable tool for constructive citizenship and the preservation of liberty.” —Edwin Meese III
The Jim Crow era ended nearly 50 years ago with the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which restored African-Americans to full citizenship in the United States after a century of legalized oppression. As the era fades deeper and deeper into the past, Americans are rapidly forgetting the historical realities of Jim Crow. Most of us weren’t even born when Jim Crow mercifully came to an end. Therefore, most of us never personally experienced one of the ugliest and most shameful chapters in American history.
Jim Crow was an era in which whites, mostly but not always in the South, used methods sometimes legal, sometimes illegal, often deadly, but always immoral, to maintain political and cultural domination over blacks. Blacks were reduced to second-class citizenship. They were denied the right to vote, kept separate from whites in most phases of life, and in general, treated as if they were subhuman, in an effort to justify white supremacy and keep the black population under tight control.
This brief paper is not intended to be an exhaustive academic treatise about the Jim Crow era. Instead its purpose is to reacquaint readers with the most important aspects of Jim Crow, by addressing the Jim Crow era’s white supremacist culture, how white supremacy was enforced, and the politics of the era. The public should come away understanding the three most important facts about Jim Crow: Jim Crow was Dehumanizing; Jim Crow was Deadly; and Jim Crow was Democratic.
Gun control was used for centuries in the Americas to deny slaves the ability to conduct armed rebellions. Even free blacks were denied guns out of fear that they would give weapons to slaves. During the Jim Crow era, gun control laws were enacted throughout the South to deny blacks equal citizenship. One of the principal missions of the Ku Klux Klan was to confiscate firearms from blacks.
This eye-opening paper also reveals that each of the six greatest genocides of the 20th century, in which a million or more people were murdered, was preceded by gun confiscation. In Cambodia, the Soviet Union, and China (twice), gun control laws disarmed the entire population. In Nazi Germany and in Muslim-run Ottoman Turkey, gun control laws targeted the people marked for extermination: Jews and Armenian Christians. Totalitarians know that a defenseless population cannot resist.
Disarmed people are also helpless against armed thieves and thugs, especially when the government has broken down and chaos reigns, as we’ve observed recently in the United States.