haze on the horizon

Posted on 23. Jan, 2012 by

Yesterday. Close to sunset. The wind howled from the west, echoing across the prairie like the ghost of a thousand wolves. It carried a beige haze like the smoke of distant fires. But closer and closer it oozed, replacing winter blue with a stain the color of dead grass.

The dust storm enveloped the senses. I could feel the grains stinging my eyes like smoke from a campfire. I could taste the dirt. I felt tiny grains building in the little spaces between my teeth.

Meanwhile, a judicial haze continues to cloud the future of U.S. House and state legislative races in Texas. Wise County sits in the middle of an argument that ranges from Austin to a court in San Antonio all the way to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the Supreme Court rejected district maps drawn by a three-judge panel in San Antonio. The Supreme Court justices weren’t sure if the San Antonio judges followed the correct standards in drafting a statewide district map. The San Antonio court redrew the maps after they rejected maps drawn by the state legislature. The San Antonio court contended that the maps drawn by the legislature failed to draw any districts in that reflect the growing minority presence in Texas. The legislature typically redraws maps after the latest census numbers are released.

However, even though the Supreme Court justice rejected the San Antonio maps, they also refused to let Texas run elections under the state legislature drawn maps.

What this leaves is an uncertain future, a haze over the political horizon. March primaries have been pushed back until at least early April. Politicians wanting to run in new or changed districts have no clue on what to do. Some are campaigning and fundraising for districts that might never even cover the place they live.

The dust storm blew in and out in a day. We don’t know when the political dust stirred up by redistricting will settle.

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