The District of Columbia must become a state

From 538’s Significant Digits for 11/10/2016:

79 percent

Percentage of D.C. residents who voted in favor of a ballot measure that would support making the District a state, with a small federally-administered district in the middle housing congress and the White House. A petition will now go to Congress. [NPR]

Each election season I recall 2004 when, after signing up for Election Protection in Miami, as it happened, I flew home infuriated and planned a non-violent revolution.

Since I don’t have a musket and am one of the deplorables who thinks no individual citizen should have a gun (I mean, I know how to read and the Second Amendment is very clear and very short), my kind of revolution comes via writing.

So I wrote a book. Which I called Uncommon Sense: Your Guide to the Second American Revolution. Or something like that.

It had a simple format: in the appendix, I reprinted the three founding documents of our country: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights–with the additional 17 amendments tossed in because, hey.

Then I re-wrote the whole package. The essence was, we Blue States (and Blue dots in the Red map–usually native American reservations, big cities and university towns and what does that say about the people who voted for Trump and put their states into his column?)-would set up our own country (I called it New America) with its own founding documents (the ones I re-wrote).

I was warmly considerate: I invited all right-minded (no, not that “right”) people to join us, although I hadn’t quite figured out how we could all connect physically. It was 2004, remember, before cell phones virtually created the Arab Spring and other forms of protest and revolution, and before cyberwar. And too early in Skype for me to know about it. Nowadays, I guess, we can connect physically in cyberspace. We no longer have to contemplate the long, long car ride from New York to Lawrence, Kansas. In a rental. Because we in cities usually don’t own cars.

Back to 2004. One night, at 2 in the morning (I do my best fevered work at 2 am), I was squinting at a map of the U.S. with districts and their voting majorities delineated. That’s when I understood where Blue dots were in Texas, for instance. And then I looked at Wyoming. Dead Red, except for Teton County, where Jackson Hole is. (I guess skiers and the people who work at ski resorts are Democrats.)

A lot of people complain about Wyoming. It’s so small–population less than 600,000–it has only one district granted one Congressional representative (as of Tuesday, Liz Cheney. Children, do any of you remember that name, Cheney?). And those two reliably Republican senators.

Then I looked at Washington, D.C. It has a population of slightly over 600,000, more than Wyoming. But D.C. does not have a Congresswoman (the exemplary Eleanor Holmes Norton is D.C.’s non-voting delegate) who can vote in the House, and does not have any senators.

Thus, this 90% Democratic stronghold can vote only in the presidential elections. As the NPR piece says:

Residents of the District of Columbia currently do not have full voting rights. As NPR’s Ken Rudin explained in a 2010 blog post:

“People who live in the nation’s capital — at least most of them anyway — pay their taxes. But they don’t have voting representation in Congress. They do get three electoral votes in the race for president. But there is nobody for them in the Senate, and in the House, there is a delegate who can vote in committee or on procedural matters that don’t involve a final vote but cannot vote on the floor.”

The proposed “State of New Columbia” would grant residents the right to full congressional representation under a new state Constitution that will be drawn up as a result of the referendum.

It’s why D.C. license plates have the motto “Taxation Without Representation.”

Now, this isn’t fair or democratic, is it? It’s the equivalent of Republican voter suppression, since the District always votes for Democrats. It’s as if the Democratic party eliminated Wyoming’s single district thus suppressing the entire vote in the state. Hm. (Hmmm.)

Regularly, the District rises up and demands representation for a population as large as Wyoming’s. They’re doing it again and I cheer them on.

If there’s anything I can do to help, I will. But–refer to the above–since I don’t have a musket, my words here will have to serve. I hope, given the new, promisingly dreadful federal government, my words alone will not breach whatever interpretation of the First Amendment SCOTUS comes up with.

P.S. Every once in a while, like now, I think about pulling out Uncommon Sense and reviewing its potential. I never imagined after 2008 I would once again have to think about separating myself from half of this territorial mass we call a country.

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