Monday, June 9, 2008

Race is No Longer an Issue

At least in Delray Beach, Florida. You see, they've finally agreed to integrate their Little League! Hey, congratulations for taking the big step, Delray. Let us know how it works out for you.

The history of Delray little league is so perfectly disingenuous it'd be funny if it wasn't so sad. You've likely heard of district "gerrymandering." Theoretically, gerrymandering can be used to increase the representation of minority groups. In practice, however, it is typically used to ensure power remains in the hands of the majority, whether that majority be white or, say, Republican (and usually both). Tom Delay (R-Texas) earned his pitchfork in part by his elaborate and corrupt efforts to redistrict the state of Texas and create a permanent Republican majority with an added bonus of nearly comprehensive black disenfranchisement. *

As grim as this is on the national stage, it's just sad and small when it plays out over something like Little League. Little League International will not grant charters to organizations that discriminate. So the Delray (rhymes with "DeLay") Little League established in 1953 was gerrymandered to exclude those neighborhoods that were primarily black. Perfect.

Fifty-five years later, they're finally doing something about it.
"I was very skeptical at first," said Shelly Ann Brewster, whose son, Lamar, plays for the Sand Gnats. "I didn't know where my kid was going to have to go and who he was going to have to play with."
Well, gosh, Shelley Ann. That would be little black kids Lamar will have to play with. He might even have to go to their neighborhoods to do it, from time to time.
Tim Stebbins, a director of Delray National, described it this way: "One builds up all these fears, and then you get to the thing and say, 'Why didn't we do this two centuries ago?'"
What can I say? Res Ipsa Loquitor.

* This bit of political theater actually has some fascinating footnotes (hence this footnote). On the eve of the vote, 52 Democratic members of the Texas House secretly boarded buses for Ardmore, Oklahoma. Powerless to stop Delay's plan and fighting for time, the Dems knew that their only recourse was to deny the Republicans a "quorum" for the vote. They also knew they'd be compelled to attend if they were in town. So, as a group, the "Killer-Ds," as the media dubbed them, lit out for the territory in the middle of the night. Undeterred, Delay used your federal tax dollars to track them down and attempt to force them back to Austin. Pulling the strings from D.C., Delay was hell-bent on building an impervious Texas fortress GOP. The corruption and misappropriations of government funds ultimately found him out. Today is the last day Tom Delay will go to work in the United States Congress. For more information, especially regarding the misuse of the State power to police, see here. Typical of GOP Hubris and stupidity, Delay and his cronies were so confident of success that they never imagined what might happen if Democrats ever regained control: the same desert island to which he tried to banish them would be reserved for him.


Adam said...

Typical of GOP hubris and Stupidity.

I want to make sure you aren't implying the democrats aren't full of the same hubris and stupidity that the GOP has?

That was a great bit of drama when the house dems ran. As a kid who grew up in Oklahoma, it made me smile that the Texans needed Oklahoma. Still makes me smile. Don't shed any tears for the democrats gerrymandered out of their districts. They did the same thing in 1992. Now, they didn't redistrict for a second time in two years like the republicans did, but gerrymandering is gerrymandering no matter who does it. I am willing to make an argument that the 2002 redistricting plan was a court mandated plan. It is the job of the legislature (federal or state, but congress has never drawn the lines. It's probably too late to invoke that privilege now) to draw congressional districts. Anyways, that wasn't the point of your post or note about Tom DeLay. I believe he is a bastard and am glad he's laying in the bed he's made.

Oh, congrats to Delray Beach, FL for jumping into 1964. You are awesome.

Jim said...

Well, it's all relative, and I'm no expert in Texas politics. However, even though you soft-pedal it, there is a rather large difference between a court mandated plan and one that doesn't even pass the sniff test; that is to say it stinks, and obviously so--especially from the point of view of the largely black and largely democratic population that stood to be largely castrated by the Delay plan.

And you've got to admit that a) pulling strings from DC and employing federal resources to game local elections is especially egregious and b) the pattern of assuming perpetual control is particularly evidenced by the behavior of the neoconservative manifestation of the GOP. Things like stacking the DOJ with partisan employees and imbuing the Presidency with unconstitutional power layered under a web of questionable legal rationale are the kinds of things you only do when it never occurs to you that the shoe might ever be on the other foot.

Another example is the GOP senate continually threatening the "nuclear option" of eliminating the filibuster. You don't hear much about it now because the outcome of the 2008 senatorial elections are much more in doubt than they were even 6 months ago. The fact that it was seriously entertained illustrates that there was at least a strong strain among the GOP of the senior branch that believed they'd always be on the top. It's not the kind of thing you'd want your adversary to enjoy if the tables were reversed.

Couple all that to the fact that Dems have only won like 3 out of the last 10 Presidential elections, and the fact that the neoconservative of today represents the culmination of 40 years of republican planning, and I'd have to say that, yes, I am implying that the democrats aren't full of the same hubris -- at least.

Stupidity is another matter all together.

Glad you came back.