The Travel Ban was Caused by Gerrymandering.

The Travel Ban was Caused by Gerrymandering                                                                          
I’m progressive, but I like to find common ground where possible. I firmly believe 80% of the country agrees on 80% of the issues. I wish our politicians would get that 80% done first and then have a good debate on the other 20%. 

The travel ban from the seven mostly Muslim countries and the ending of the refugee program is terrible. It makes the citizens of the United States and our troops abroad less safe. It makes us look Islamphobic and elitist.  I think most folks understand we are a country of immigrants and we are all equal no matter where we are born or how many generations our family has been here. Sadly, this reality evades the hard right 20%. 

Omer Abdulrahman, a friend, running partner, co-worker, and a refugee from Sudan, joined me for a run on Sunday morning and then we headed to the protest at RDU. It’s terrible our government has done something so bad we have to protest, but the turnout and energy was incredible. We saw friends, hugged folks we barely knew, and enjoyed the creative signs and chants. It goes without saying that the protest held special meaning to Omer since he is from a banned country and wouldn’t be here without the refugee program. 

Folks are realizing the President only represents the hard right 20%, and are getting their confidence to speak out against his administration. It’s especially gratifying and helpful to see Republicans who are principled enough to speak up in times like these when their party is wrong. I want to get angry at the reasonable Republicans who voted for Trump, the poor Dems who voted for Trump because they hadn’t benefitted from the last last 8 years of economic growth and they just wanted to blow things up, and at Hillary for setting up that private server (she knew better). But instead, I’m going to put my energy towards the system that allowed Trump to be a candidate.

Gerrymandering, where politicians draw the maps to create lopsided districts, prevents voters from being accurately represented and allows the fringe candidate to get elected. When a district is lopsided, folks run to the extremes rather than the middle to win. Extreme and obstructionist politicians on both sides of the aisle have created a broken system, where folks can talk about crazy ideas and not get voted out. This crazy talk over the last eight years, like questioning Obama’s birth certificate and denying climate change, created an environment where a candidate like Trump could win.

Reasonable Republicans should not have to vote for Trump, they should have had a better option. Poor Dems should have benefited from the last eight years of economic growth if the Senate and House would just work together on the 80% of the issues they agree on. Unfortunately, gerrymandering of the districts does not create that type of environment.

In North Carolina, the Dems gerrymandered the districts for decades and Republicans have now done it the last seven years. Next week, a bipartisan bill to end gerrymandering, sponsored by two Republicans and two Democrats, will be introduced in the NC House. There is growing momentum on both sides to get it through the House this year. Then, we can turn our energy towards the NC Senate. North Carolina, currently one of the most gerrymandered states, could be an example to the nation just like Iowa and California. In just 2-3 cycles, we could get rid of the fringe politicians and start to elect practical folks who like to get things done.

I’ll be at more marches because we have to be, and every issue is important. But I would prefer to partner with Republicans on ending gerrymandering in order to solve all these issues with one BIG FIX. 

---David Meeker

Real Estate Developer in Downtown Raleigh and Partner in Trophy Brewing and Runologie