By Martin Bosworth
For those who don’t know (and many do not), residents of the District of Columbia have no vote of any kind in Congress. We have a shadow representative, but our basic governance and any sort of voice is only at the whim of Congress. Think about that–a place with 500,000 residents (a larger populace than many states of much greater size), the second-highest tax rates in the country, that sends its sons and daughters to war as any full state would–and yet we have no representation in our so-called “representative democracy.”
As of today, though, that is one step closer to changing.
Will this become law? I don’t know. The Senate is, by its nature, the more ponderous and deliberative body, and Harry Reid is not Nancy Pelosi. There’s also the looming sword of Damocles of the Bush veto, but I’d almost take that as a point of pride–the idea of Bush passing only his second veto in seven years to quell D.C. voting rights is all you need to know about how the Chimp views democracy.
I believe it will happen, though. D.C. may not be a full state, but we bear all the burdens and responsibilities of a state. We take great pride in our city, actually, especially as it modernizes and transforms after years of degradation and neglect. For all that people bitch about the District–and there’s a lotta hatin’ goin’ on–there is also much beauty, culture, and life here, and we bear all the responsibilities of our fellow citizens. Should we not have the same rights?
I think so, and so does our representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Witness her impassioned speech on the issue today:
Dreier: Will the gentlewoman yield?
Holmes Norton: I will not yield, sir. The District of Columbia
has spent 206 years yielding to people who would deny them the
vote. I yield you no ground. Not during my time. You have had your
say, and your say has been that you think the people who live in your
capital are not entitled to a vote in their House. Shame on you.
Indeed. Shame on us all for letting this happen. But we don’t have to let it continue.
If you want to support the right of D.C. to have a vote in Congress, visit D.C. Vote and find out what you can do to help.