Pretty, Great Gerrymandering 

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It’s been a helluva week for everyone, including the staff here at SmartBomb. The World Trade Center/Pentagon plane bombings have brought people together in some wonderful ways. Unfortunately, partisanship, hatred and bigotry continue on as though nothing had happened.

Among the disappointments is that some Americans—a small minority, no doubt—have decided that this is a good time to act as terrorists themselves. From bomb hoaxes to epithets and actions against Muslims and Arab-Americans, we see that hatred and meanness still thrive. Torching and shooting up businesses and shouting insults at people who appear to have Middle Eastern ancestry is as dumb-headed as locking up Americans who looked Japanese during World War II. Apparently, ignorance and hatred are constants in the human condition.

• Utah Republicans have decided to do their best to ensure that Democrats can’t be elected to Congress. In a redistricting gerrymander maneuver, the Republicans have determined to split Salt Lake County three ways in hopes of making it impossible for Rep. Jim Matheson to be re-elected. That means right-wingers like Rep. Jim Hansen and Rep. Chris Cannon would represent some in Salt Lake City.

The Republicans have done the same with redistricting for the state Legislature. For example, residents of the Avenues in Salt Lake City who tend to vote for Democrats would be lumped with conservative Davis County.

All this was done in closed Republican caucus. Democrats, who hold so few elected offices even without the new gerrymandering, are powerless to stop it. Utahns apparently like one-party rule where decisions are made behind closed doors. It doesn’t really sound American, but there you have it.

Speaking of one-party rule here in the “pretty, great state”—or as Mike Leavitt likes to call it, “the state where we can’t connect the dots”—Republican lawmakers are warning the liquor industry to back off. The latest tirade against booze comes in the wake of a ruling from the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals that the First Amendment applies even in Utah and that wineries and distilleries are, in fact, allowed to advertise legal products.

But Republicans on Capitol Hill got all in a huff when told that liquor distributors must be allowed to advertise. Among them is Republican Sen. Dan Eastman from Bountiful, who said he would carry out a crusade against advertising of liquor whether or not it’s unconstitutional. That doesn’t really sound American, either.

• And finally, when the grief and anger associated with the terrorists attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., subside, Americans ought to begin asking ourselves why we are despised in some parts of the world. We are told that we do a lot for other countries in terms of foreign aid, so the notion that we are hated is hard to accept. Apparently, we aren’t getting the whole story. It’s time to take a close look at how and why we are perceived as we are elsewhere.

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