Letter: Redistricting – bargaining or compromise

Letter: Redistricting – bargaining or compromise

Alan Kelso
St Augustine, FL

Dear Editor:

While recently attending the St. Johns County School Board Workshop concerning Redistricting, after the public was given an opportunity to address the Board, I heard a repeated word or idea being proposed between board members.

The feeling of some on the Board was that there must be a compromise between the School Board and County Commissioners in order to appear more willing to work out differences.

The idea of compromise is nothing new especially in the world of politics. What is often proposed as “compromise”, is in essence a bait and switch tactic; opening a back door to moral relativism.

The idea is that there are no absolutes, no right or wrong, and that cultural differences justify action or belief.

Compromise is often touted as a virtue. However, what is usually put upon a pedestal, in reality, is a package deal; containing two different concepts under the same label -– that of bargaining and compromise.

The first concept, hashing out details under a shared basic principle, we call bargaining. The basic principle is to trade — the details are how much of X to trade for how much Y. Both traders will try to get a good deal, but will only deal if they can get a price that is beneficial to both.

The second concept, compromise is the surrender of basic principles to achieve some agreement, not simply bargaining out details to attain a consensus. Basic principles are either followed or not followed. They cannot be partly followed.

When there is an attempted compromise between honesty and dishonesty, the result is dishonesty. When there is an attempted compromise between justice and injustice, the result is an injustice. When there is an attempted compromise between rationality and irrationality, the result is irrational. When there is an attempted compromise between integrity and not acting in accordance with ones convictions, the result is an act not in accordance with one’s convictions.

During this time of redistricting, we are forgetting why people from around the world came to America and what has continued to make us unique and great among the nations of the world.

It is not just our “Free Enterprise System” or that of “Democracy” or our “Freedom to Worship”.

The concept was so important to our founders that they placed it ever before us on our coins to be a constant reminder to us, E Pluribus Unum – “out of many, one”.

Redistricting is not an attempt to place a group of people on “one side of the tracks” or the other. Nor is it intended to isolate a segment of society, except by those who would try to use race as a means to group people into one district or another.

To accept the argument that race is an issue and that we must segregate groups of people by the color of their skin, is, first, to accept that the argument exists as an issue. Secondly, it is a gross step backwards in time, or “retrogression”, taking us back to the days of real racism; prior to the 60’s and the Civil Rights era.

I cannot speak for other counties; but here in St. Johns County, we do not have a racism problem. Though a small few may be racist, this county is not.

Racial separatism is the belief that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another. Plan C revised does not promote such a concept; however, arguably, plans E and J do — by proposing that the African Americans of our county be grouped together, or segregated.

The suggestion is that, through segregation, minority voters become a more powerful voting-block.

Since minorities are more often Democrats, and the City of St Augustine is predominantly Democrat, minority “voting power” is actually reduced by the segregation in Plan E and J — revised or otherwise.

There is nothing noble about compromising people’s well-being and integrity.

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph by Alan Kelso

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