Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gerrymandering-The Movie!

Hey Vice-Precedence Fans. I've talked here before about other documentary films that have been made as we keep on trying to make VICE-PRECEDENCE. However, a new documentary coming out in wider release and has been seen at festivals around the country has a major connection to VICE-PRECEDENCE.

Its GERRYMANDERING by director/writer Jeff Reichert. The films synopsis on IMDb describes the film this way:

A wake-up-call documentary that exposes the hidden history of our country's redistricting wars, mapping battles that take place out of public scrutiny but that shape the electoral landscape of American politics for decades at time, posing a threat not just to democrats and republicans, but democracy as a whole.

The film examines the history of the practice of Gerrymandering, named after Vice-President Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts whose picture is here on the blog. Its funny, because his name is pronounced with the hard "G" so technically its been mispronounced for over 200 years. The film interviews all sorts of politicians, from Howard Dean to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Gerrymandering has been a bipartisan dirty political trick for 200 years, as the film shows with the story of how President Obama used it to put upper-class whites into his mostly black Chicago South Side area to get elected to the Senate. Along with Tom DeLays attempts to gerrymander Texas in 2005, driving state Democrats to hide in a motel in Oklahoma to prevent it happening, leading Samuel Issacharoff, a professor at NYU School of Law, to quote his daughter about the absurdity of the affair:

"While there are a lot of reasons middle aged men might be sneaking off to a motel, until now redistricting has not been one of them."

Gerrymandering is basically, a political maneuver used by incumbents to retain power by designing districts to create an advantage for the ruling party-no matter how impractical they may be or ridiculous they may look.

In 1812 near the end of Gerrys second term as Governor of Massachusetts, at a time of partisanship that makes today's political struggles look like a meeting of Lutheran housewives in a church basement for coffee and cake. Gerrys party-the Democratic-Republicans, passed a devious redistricting measure, to make sure they would retain their iron-fist grip on the State senate. Governor Gerry signed the bill, and in response, the opposition party of Federalists ripped Gerry to shreds. Famous painter Gilbert Stuart drew a political cartoon for a newspaper, turning the district into a dragon surrounding the state, and likened it to a salamander. The papers editor Benjamin Russell chortled, "Better say a gerrymander.", and the name was picked up by the opposition Federalists to mock the squiggly, salamander-like shape of Essex County and Gerrys political corruption. The term has been used ever since.

Not only is it a good sign that a documentary like this can be made, sure the guy who made it is a former publicity manager for Magnolia Pictures, so he has lots of Hollywood connections, but, still, it shows the American public is interested in docs about American history and politics. So I will be making an effort to see GERRYMANDERING with the hopes that it will make some film investors interested in VICE-PRECDENCE as well.

Click Here to see the IMDB page for the film.

Don't forget! Our on-camera interview with former Vice-President WALTER MONDALE is in less than a month, and we still really need your financial support to fly Jason to Fritz and to hire a crew. You can donate here:


Matt Saxe

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