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Opinion: Republicans Stay On The Wrong Side of History By Opposing DC Statehood

Last updated on September 25th, 2023 at 08:57 pm

Read: The Republican Presumptive Nominee for President is A Convicted Felon

Americans in the nation’s capital live with no representation. Not only do we have taxation, but we pay more taxes than 22 of the 50 states and we pay the highest per capita tax rate in the country.

Our books are balanced. Yes, most of DC is liberal by default and most of the people who live here are of color.  I say liberal by default because Republicans and Trump have nothing but political servitude to offer DC.  It’s likely that if Republicans had something to offer other than racist excuses for denying us representation, more conservative Americans in DC would at least take a look at their candidates.

We are a net giver to the Federal coffers, though as a population of 700,000 we are smaller givers than California and New York. We have a bigger population than Vermont and Wyoming, though slightly smaller than Alaska. Contrary to the condescending rhetoric of some Republican representatives, those smaller populations managed to fulfill all the responsibilities of statehood rather well. Of course, there is one difference, and that is probably the driving force behind Republican opposition to DC’s statehood.

Only 37% of DC’s population is non-Hispanic white. So maybe when they talk about the great complicated responsibilities of statehood what they’re really saying is those black people need to be ruled by some benevolent white Republican rulers in Congress.

Unlike California and New York who finance programs to help red states make their way, we are “subjects” of Congress. We have “home rule”, which functions much like the powers an imperial power grants a colony to give locals the appearance of full personhood. They’re guaranteed unless the great white Congress says they are not.

Our delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, and our Mayor Muriel Bowser have worked tirelessly to protect DC from the authoritarian fist of Republicans – most recently when Trump sent the National Guard to tear gas and bomb peaceful protesters so that he can have a photo op with an upside down bible. This was at a historic church where the National Guard dutifully tear gassed the clergy away.

Unlike states, DC has no say on whether the National Guard invades us and assaults our people. It was solely because of Mayor Bowser’s efforts that the National Guard ceased to attack American citizens as if it was Donald Trump’s personal militia.

We want nothing more than the same political rights and representation as other Americans. No more home rule that is really a veneer of democracy while assuring that we keep buying free lunches for needy Republican states, states that are somehow “responsible” enough to govern themselves but incapable of paying their own expenses.

Yesterday, the House passed a bill recognizing statehood by a vote of 232 to 180 votes. It was both historic and symbolic, since as usual Republicans are on the wrong side of history.

Before the historic vote, Speaker Pelosi  summed up the facts in favor of statehood.

“People in the District of Columbia pay taxes, fight our wars, risk their lives for our democracy. And yet … they have no vote in the House or the Senate about whether we go to war, and how those taxes are exacted and how this is all played, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in the Capitol, a few hours before the vote. “We’re at a state of compromise, and we think it’s very long overdue.”

As usual, Republicans don’t have any real reasons to object. They have partisan whine about DC probably electing two Democratic Senators and a Democrat to represent us in the House. It’s a pretty safe argument since freed people are more likely to vote for representation that supports and respects their freedom over those who don’t.

Sure, Republicans will try to argue they are originalists when it comes to the American Constitution and to seek citizenship equality for Americans in DC amounts to arguing that the Founders were wrong.

Actually, that overlooks the facts, per usual with the GOP.

As reported by WTOP:

“The bill would establish a federal district of two square miles, comprising the Capitol and White House, the National Mall and other major federal buildings. The rest of the District would become a state called Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, named for the Black abolitionist and intellectual Frederick Douglass.”

The Senate’s Grim Reaper is already on record opposing bringing the bill to a vote. Even if he did, Trump announced he would veto because of course he opposes citizenship equality for black people, who he says he loves and has done more for than any other president.

Perhaps the real fear is if DC achieves statehood, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will follow and before you know it, Magastan apartheid will come tumbling down.

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