“No Taxation without Representation!”
The very battle cry that once led our great nation, rallying for independence, is now a popular slogan among Washingtonians like me for equal representation in Congress. Sounds good, right? Well, now the slogan that so proudly stands on D.C. license plates is being misused in order to argue for D.C. statehood.
Proponents of D.C. statehood, such as Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), argue that statehood will eliminate the “injustice suffer[ed] by D.C. residents … not having a vote.” Under the New Columbia Admission Act, proposed Jan. 15 of last year, the new state, deemed New Columbia, will encompass all the land of the present District with the exception of “principal federal monuments: the White House, the Capitol Building, the Supreme Court building, the federal executive, legislative and judicial office buildings adjacent to the Mall and Capitol Building and certain military property,” all of which will remain a part of the District of Columbia.
Proponents also argue that by becoming a state, D.C. residents will finally have equal representation in Congress. D.C. will be granted a representative in the House, and according to law, two U.S. senators. The seat of government of Washington, D.C., will be able to operate outside of Congress; Congress will now only watch over the aforementioned government buildings.
Like communism, it all sounds great on paper. It all seems to scream democracy, equal representation, true republicanism and all the valued American ideals we so cherish; however, also like communism, it will not work in practice.
First, consider the current politics of our government. There is no way on God’s green earth the Republican-led House is going to pass this act that is Democrat-benefitting and that will give Democrats three extra seats in Congress.
Let’s be real; D.C. is called the “Federal City,” and its citizens voted for Obama by a margin of 83.6 percent in 2012. It also has legalized same-sex marriage and is now making the case for decriminalization of marijuana. I have nothing against liberals and those that support these ideals, but if that does not scream liberalism, then what does? Plain and simple, D.C. bleeds blue.
Also, the plan, name and boundaries are plain U-G-L-Y! I mean, come on, New Columbia? Imagine going on Google Maps and looking at the new boundaries of this proposed state … it will be very unamusing.
This all may seem like I’m against equal representation of District residents in Congress, but I’m not. As I previously said, I’m a Washingtonian, so I firmly believe something needs to be done but not to this extremity. We don’t need a 51st state or a new boundary that changes the “Diamond City” to a state that no longer has a distinctive shape.
The states ratified the 23rd Amendment, giving D.C. residents the right to vote by means of giving D.C. specific electors in the Electoral College. Congress restricted the land area of D.C. to 10 square miles. If they can do that, they can pass another amendment or a better prepared act allowing the District to have representation in Congress. Or, as I’m sure my fellow Washingtonians would agree, just do not tax us.
The New Columbia Admission Act completely disregards the very slogan that we Washingtonians hold dear to our hearts, and that is “No Taxation without Representation.” Instead of trying to establish a new state, work to have D.C. equally represented in Congress.
Amend the Constitution, or pass an act through Congress to get the representation needed so that D.C. residents can be represented and, consequently, vote on the everyday bills, acts and laws that we are governed by. I agree with James Madison that D.C. needs “to be distinct from the states, [for] a dependence of the members of the general government on the State [is] equally dishonorable and dissatisfactory.”
Congress, in the meantime, must be open to giving equal representation to these residents who are being denied their right to representation in their government.
Ra’Mond Hines is a freshman in the College.