Remember when Saturday Night Live parodied a Pandora commercial? The video below, which has been making the rounds on social media, seems cut from the same cloth.
But this is no Onion–style stunt designed to make you LOL, redolent with satire though the video may be. Because it’s an actual commercial for a real jewelry brand: Gerrymander Jewelry.
It also happens to be an initiative launched by a PAC (i.e., political action company) known as OMG WTF (yes, really) as a way to help stop the practice of manipulating voter district lines for political gain in key Republican-controlled states.
Not the prettiest, but neither is the situation: This pin is the jewelry equivalent of FL-4, which conveniently “carves out” the city of Jacksonville.
Launched last week in collaboration with political consultant Arielle Yuspeh and jewelry designer Romy Devack, founder of Sincerely Jewelry and a former celebrity stylist, the collection includes six documented gerrymandered Congressional districts—TX-35, MI-14, FL-4, LA-6, OH-1, and NC-6—reimagined as necklaces and pins in 14k yellow, white, and rose gold plated sterling silver.
“Gerrymandering has been around for 200 years, but has seen a resurgence since 2011 with sophisticated mapmaking technology,” says OMG WTF founder Ben Sheehan, who has been eyeing the situation closely. The idea for Gerrymander Jewelry occurred to Yuspeh, says Sheehan, in September of last year, after noticing that people outside of her political world were beginning to pay attention to, and become invested in, “what the midterms really meant after President Trump was elected.”
But is Gerrymander Jewelry a brand with staying power? Says Sheehan, “We expect production to continue for as long as politicians continue to ‘hand-design’ their own voting districts and minimize Democratic voters, particularly ones of color.”
To date, according to a spokesperson, the company has received orders from 435 of the congressional districts in the U.S. calling for the election of state legislative candidates in the 2018 midterms who can ensure fairer districts.
Gnarled human femur found at a crime scene? Nah, this is just TX-35, which runs 100 miles from Austin to San Antonio “for no reason other than to pack Democrats into one district.”
In 2021, new voting district lines will be drawn for the years 2022 through 2030. As such, the long-term vision, according to Sheehan, is that the current Gerrymander Jewelry pieces will become relics. But this will only happen when consumers vote in governors who can veto Congressional lines, he says. And thus render the zigzagging, nonsensical silhouettes obsolete.
All ready-to-ship jewelry items are in exchange for a $195 donation to OMG WTF. Custom districts are available upon request for an additional charge. Unfortunately, the jewelry isn’t tax deductible.
Top: Congressional District OH-1 in 14k gold-plated pendant form by Gerrymander Jewelry. Per the product description page: “Like two pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together, this necklace…features OH-1, which for no logical reason except to keep Republicans in office, tacks on the Republican-heavy Warren County.”
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