Bob Mitchell: Political gerrymandering happens

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The biggest goings-on in Washington, D.C., these days, outside the White House seems to be what the Supreme Court is going to do about Gerrymandering voting processes in this country.

The political process of setting voting districts in this country is a decades-long process that has been tampered with for most of our lifetimes by legislatures in the states generally favoring whatever majority might be in power at the time.

Seventh district

Take for example the Seventh Congressional District, which includes Barry County. Long ago in Jefferson City, the Republicans and Democrats got together and decided they would be good to each other, dividing Southern Missouri into a pair of congressional districts, one favoring each party.

The southwest district went to the GOP side, the southeast (Little Dixie) to the Democrats. And, it has remained that way for many of our lifetimes.

Now, the highest court of the land is considering a solution to this problem — probably more prevalent elsewhere in the country. But, with the makeup of the court these days, there is little chance of any equalizing solution.

Two beneficial times

There have been a couple of compatible times in recent history when a member of congress in the district actually helped Barry County.

One was when Democrat Charley Brown of Springfield defeated Dewey Short of Galena after his long tenure. It was Brown’s efforts, with others, that resulted in a bridge over Table Rock at Shell Knob.

Then there was Republican Gene Taylor of Sarcoxie that worked in behalf of Cassville in obtaining federal assistance that boosted industrial prospects. His efforts were the first material functions for our area from any GOP member.

Remember Dr. No?

A native of Barry County, Dr. Durward Hall, of Washburn, did little for anywhere in the district. His thinking and voting in Congress earned him the nickname of Dr. No, since his votes were normally recorded in this direction.

Legislative decision

Since gerrymandering has been looked down upon in many regions for years, state legislatures are in charge. So, like Missouri’s current majority, look for little change, no matter what comes out of the high court.

Political majorities aren’t going to move far away of relinquishing whatever control they might have in government.

So, my bet is that the Seventh Congressional District will remain stagnant until more like Brown or Taylor come along and want to represent the people.

About this month

April, coming from the Latin word aperio, “to open” (bud), because plants begin to grow during this month, that is unless the area might be visited by a late season drop in temperature.

This is quite possibly a bad news month for many Americans, since the 15th of the month is the due date for taxes to be paid. Missing the date, without an extension, can cost interest to be assessed against the principal amount owed Uncle Sam.

Cautions toward mid-month

While the first of April appears appealing to the gardeners in most everyone, there are signals to watch if you are a believer in the Almanac.

Just after this period, “Very cold air moving south in the mid-continent brings freezing conditions and frost.” Then, toward the end of the month, there is more bad news for planting with the possibility of “Unseasonably cold but dry, a few thunderstorms sweep through Kansas and Missouri.”

And toward the end of the month it’s predicted that Rocky Mountain storms will advance through the plains with moisture and some freezing conditions.

Other than these disappointing factors, the month is one that many gardeners visualize as their opportunity to get out and get started on an early crop of about everything that might make-up a family garden.

Good fishing days

Best fishing days for those who have waited all winter to get out on the water are listed as 10th thru 12th, 19th, 20th and 28th thru 30th. Good fishing is rated on 16th, 26th and 27th.

There is no guarantee of good catches on these days coming from this columnist — this information is that which is provided from another source.

Regarding another sport, golfers who plan on gluing their eyes to a TV during the Master’s Tournament might discover some showers opening day, but clear skies for the remainder of the rounds.

Off the spike

There are numbers regarding the digital world that tells us there were 2.2 billion cellular phones sold in 2018.

Then there was an estimated $101.3 billion spent on video games the same year.

At the end of 2018, there were an estimated 4.04 billion people who were using internet technology.

And, this past year, people using Google for searching, for various information, stood at 2.133 trillion.

Veteran’s Administration statistics put the number of World War II veterans alive during last year at 388,000. That number is predicted to shrink to 131,000 by 2022.

Bob Mitchell is the former editor and publisher of the Cassville Democrat. He is a 2017 inductee to both the Missouri Press Association Hall of Fame and Missouri Southern State University’s Regional Media Hall of Fame.