Good morning, class. Today we are studying the fascinating topic of political science, a phrase that itself oozes with paradox. The only known “scientific” observation about politics is that, once exposed, a perfectly rational person can become inexplicably unstable and develop an unhealthy addiction to opinion polls and other people’s money.

Science also confirms that the condition is infectious, in that otherwise rational constituents can become disoriented when in the presence of a once-rational politician who is now similarly disoriented. Apart from that, politics is no more scientific, and thus no more provable, than being able to accurately read the hearts of men.

Our discussion today has to do with a topic that has been in the news a lot – redistricting. Before we begin, let’s define some terms. A “district” is an area comprising a community of interest or made up of people having a common interest, usually described in demographic and geographic terms. A “political district,” however, is an area designed to look like various insect body parts and has an altogether different objective.

“Redistricting” is the act of drawing new political districts every 10 years, in an attempt to do everything humanly possible to ensure that an incumbent is protected, even if the new district has to be drawn to look like any given section of the Mississippi River as seen from an airplane. Class – and common sense – dismissed.

By the time you read this column, this year’s state legislative (regular) session will have adjourned, and perhaps some questions will have been answered. In the meantime, however, several proposed plans are still bouncing around, none of which seems to have a ringing endorsement. If the legislature and Gov. Perry can’t agree on one plan, then the matter will be referred to the Legislative Redistricting Board, a committee composed of five people – Lt. Gov. Bill Ratliff, Speaker of the House Pete Laney, State Atty. General John Cornyn, State Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander and Land Commissioner David Dewhurst. And, of course, once the Board has agreed on a plan, lawsuits will be filed by various special-interest groups, and a judge will undoubtedly get to decide how the new districts should look. From representative democracy to judicial dictatorship in three easy steps – if anybody ever paid attention, that might actually be a scary observation.

If districts were drawn as originally intended, they would be nice, tight, efficient communities of interest, and the effectiveness of representative government would be greatly enhanced because representatives would speak for more cohesive constituencies, and constituents would be able to speak through their representatives with a more concentrated voice.

Lake Highlands’ population is sufficient to support its own state representative. It is unnecessary to pair it – or a portion of it – with the Park Cities or Lakewood or Richardson or Garland. Lake Highlands is perhaps the only area within the City of Dallas that has successfully maintained a strong sense of community. We deserve our own representative.

Unfortunately, however, it appears that those in charge of drawing the maps – whether they be elected or anointed – have a different set of priorities. There should be only one – the people.