Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Imaginary Geographies I: U.S. Politics. A New Poem by Stan Brunn

Imaginary Geographies I: U.S. Politics

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Sometimes it is useful to dream and think of processes and fantasies

            About “what if” and imaginary geographies

While such ideas may never see the light of day

            They may happen if progress and our dreams hold sway.

Let’s think about the impacts of some on the U.S. political scene,

            Both subtle and dramatic from what is and long has been.

What about requiring mandatory voter registration and voting

            Which would certainly usher in new electoral geography history?

Or reducing the number of Kentucky, Texas and Georgia counties

            With small populations, low incomes and social disparities?

What about welcoming multiple and competitive political parties

            Where citizens  can easily switch allegiances and party loyalties?

And switching the election dates from wintry early November    

            For better turnout to a spring month or even September?

And scheduling regional primaries on different dates

            To reduce the unfair impacts awarded small states.

And giving DC and Puerto Rico statehood and representation

            And designing a new flag for this overdue celebration.

That Vermont and California continue to elect the same number of senators

            Illustrates an agrarian legacy that unfairly favors small state legislators.

What would happen if half the governors and Congress were women

            Might some kinder and gentler politics might happen?

And if court justices and Congress members retired at age 70

Those younger would be given more opportunity.

With the Supreme Court sometime outlawing blatant gerrymandering

            We might see an end to unfair voter redistricting.

And how about doing away with the antiquated Electoral College

            An agrarian institution with unfairness that many acknowledge?

The changes above will never come easily in our evolving multi- nation

            Because parties, lawyers and politicians will likely protest with passion.

Political impacts will challenge our status quo and traditional theories

            And teaching about elections, cultures and political geographies

With a result that future generations may study some entirely new states

            Perhaps only sixteen with new names, boundaries and voter participation rates.

                                                                        Stan Brunn, 19 April 2015

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