The biggest complaint by DC residents via radio programs and television? The complaint that DC was shunned by ESPN and the '50 States/50 Days' program, because DC is technically not a state. Of course, these are the same people who drive around with license plate border decorations and bumper stickers that read "Washington D.C., taxation without representation". Get over it, people.
(ESPN has since made D.C. the last stop on their tour. So, there you go.)
Now, I enjoy CPF's blog very much and he seems like a wonderful fellow. But I consider his feelings toward D.C. to be disrespectful at best and downright insulting at worst. I'm sure his comments were mainly meant in jest, but that doesn't make them right. As a life-long resident of the D.C. Metropolitan area, I have long considered the lack of congressional representation one of the worst hypocrisies in America. And neither political party has done squat to change this situation. I'll give the Republicans credit for being consistent in their lack of support while the Democrats have paid lip service to this issue for decades. (I couldn't find any mention of D.C. voting rights in either their 2000 or 2004 party platforms.)
Unfortunately, his feelings are shared by a majority of people who live "outside the beltway." And it's not as if they don't have some backup...
The Bone-Headed Constitution
- Article I, Section 2 provides that the House of Representatives be "composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States."
- Article I, Section 3 provides that "[t]he Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State".
The Framers' language and purposes make it clear that the representatives provided for in Article I would be the exclusive legislators of the federal government. A plain reading of the Constitution indicates that the Constitution limits congressional voting representation to state residents. (taken from DCVote.org)
Now, I hope that most folks realize there are problems with falling back on the Constitution. What are they? Oh, how about this one, and this one, and this one. So, just because it's in the Constitution doesn't mean it can't be changed.
In an earlier post I alluded to Congressman Henry Bonilla from Texas who wanted to rename 16th Street "Ronald Reagan Boulevard". But this example is not the most egregious. How about Bob Barr withholding much needed money from Metro unless they renamed a subway stop "Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport"? And what about the Congress' thwarting the D.C. Government's attempts to reroute trains carrying toxic chemicals like chlorine gas? Or their recent effort to repeal the District's strict gun laws?
I could go on, but I think you get the idea.
- Overheard at the World Bank Protests in 2000: "Whose streets? Our streets!" Um, no. They're MY streets. So go home already! And take your stupid puppets with you!
- Tractor Man and his ilk.
I understand that Washington, D.C. is always going to serve as a natural focal point for protest in this country. And most folks around here are ok with that. But if you're gonna come to protest, the least you can do is not trash the place. Or issue bomb threats near the White House. I mean, really!
Look, like it or not, there are people who actually live in the District of Columbia. They don't live in Maryland, even though they share a border with the Free State. And they are not part of the Commonwealth of Virginia either (we do have the Potomac River to help out). People such as my Father believe that the District of Columbia shouldn't have any kind of local population whatsoever. I jokingly asked him once if the National Guard should be called out to disperse the population into Maryland. He jokingly responded in the affirmative. So as long as we have American citizens residing there, I believe they should be afforded the same rights that all American citizens enjoy. Seems fair, right?
Well, there are politics in everything and simply asking for something just because it's the right thing to do won't get you far in this town. If you wanna get, you gotta give. So that's why Rep. Tom Davis' plan to offer full voting representation in Congress to D.C. in exchange for granting Utah an extra seat in Congress seems fair to me. Some of my more partisan Democratic friends scoff at this plan as being unfair. "Tell that to a D.C. citizen," I reply. "I think they can teach you a thing or two about what's fair and what's not."