This afternoon will be the largest organized march for D.C. congressional representation in over a decade. While its great news that there is enough popular support to have a march, it’s downright sad that the bill in which people are lobbying for is a complete sham. It gives D.C. a token vote in the House, and little else. Congress will still have full control of D.C. (as written in the Constitution) and there will still be no representation in the Senate.
As I have stated time & time again, if the bill passes, D.C. residents will only be 1/3 represented– so why advocate for partial representation? Democracy only works in whole numbers. History tells us this. Just like the slaves who were once considered 3/5’s of a human in regards to representation, which was found to be unconstitutional, this bill will probably end up with the same result.
I was going to publish the list of sponsors of the Voting Rights March to show high up the kool-aid drinking goes. From the NAACP to the DC Government, it’s laughable that these organizations are behind something so constitutionally dubious. Moreover, I must highlight the sad fact that they behind something that sells everyone short. As one person told me, “It’s the best thing going,” but does that make it legitmate? Politics may be the art of compromise, but why compromise becoming a full citizen over being 1/3 of a citizen?
I will be marching with the largest D.C. flag (made of hemp, with the text “DC STATEHOOD NOW!”) from Franklin Square to Freedom Plaza in the “March to Statehood” contingent and then after the march & rally I will be going to “Push the Senate Reception” in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. I was thinking of getting arrested in the senate, but I have yet to decide if it will be worthwhile or not. I’m a bit rusty when it comes to civil disobedience, it’s been awhile.
Lastly, I’d like to point out the stupidity of the naming of the march as a “Voting Rights March.” People are lobbying for a voting RIGHT – thats singular – not plural, with the right being only one vote in the House. If it were really about voting RIGHTS – that’s plural – it would be in support of full representation in both the House & Senate….
Below the fold is Reuters story,
“Washington, after 200 years, may get vote in Congress”
Washington, after 200 years, may get vote in Congress
By Stuart Grudgings
Sunday, April 15, 2007; 3:22 PM
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It has taken a little over 200 years, but Washingtonians finally sense that their quirky status as citizens without voting representation in the U.S. Congress might just be coming to an end.
The self-styled “capital of the free world” has been a democratic black spot for the United States — drawing sharp criticism from rights groups and even the United Nations.
Residents of the District of Columbia, which is not legally a state, have had to fight for the limited voting rights they have since Congress relocated here from Philadelphia in 1800.
It took until 1961 to gain the right to vote in presidential elections, and they still have no full-fledged member of Congress — either in the House of Representatives or the Senate — despite having to pay federal taxes like everyone else.
But a determined grass-roots movement, a Democratic-controlled Congress, a weakened Republican president and a compromise involving far-away Utah has raised hopes that D.C. residents eventually might discard the “Taxation Without Representation” protest messages many carry on their car license plates.
“I’ve talked to activists in the city and they haven’t seen a moment like this in a very, very long time,” said Iler Zherka, executive director of DC Vote, a group campaigning for congressional representation for Washington.
Thousands of people, ranging from students to taxi drivers, are expected to join a march to Congress on Monday, the city’s annual Emancipation Day marking Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 signing of the act that ended slavery in the District.
The aim is to press lawmakers into passing a bill this week that, while not making the District a state, would raise the number of seats in the U.S. House by two — one for Washington and one for Utah, which has been demanding more representation because of population changes.
SELLING D.C. SHORT?
The bill is to be taken up by the House on Thursday, where approval is likely. But it would still have to pass the narrowly divided Senate and be signed by President George W. Bush, who pointedly had the protest plates removed from presidential limousines and whose aides have advised a veto.
Washington’s heavily black and Democratic population has been seen as the main cause of long-standing Republican opposition to giving the capital a seat, so handing one to Republican-friendly Utah could greatly boost the bill’s chances of success.
Advocates also hope Bush would be reluctant to pick another fight with a resurgent Congress that is already challenging him over the Iraq War and other issues.
But the legislation has disappointed some rights activists, who say it sells Washington short by not giving it Senate representation and by leaving open constitutional questions that could make it vulnerable to legal challenges.
It would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to make the District a state with full representation by two senators and a representative in the House.
“I think the bill is wholly unworthy of the people of the District of Columbia,” said Timothy Cooper, executive director of advocacy group Worldrights.
“My fear, as well as the fear of others, is that this will completely deflate any move to get U.S. senators,” he said.
The bill is “flagrantly unconstitutional” — ignoring the Founding Fathers’ stipulation that Congress members are elected by “the several states” — and is virtually certain to be struck down by the courts, said Jonathan Turley, a professor at the George Washington University Law School.
Advocates of the bill say it is legitimate because the Constitution gives Congress the power to exercise “exclusive legislation” over the capital.