DC Statehood Revisited
Andrew Sullivan, after condemning Virginia’s rather confusing law banning gay marriage and maybe more, observes:
Meanwhile, there is a place where a clear majority would vote – with no judicial prodding or “tyranny” – for equal marriage rights. It happens to be where I live. But in Washington, D.C., the citizens do not have any right to govern themselves (that’s left to Congressmen from elsewhere). The residents of Baghdad will soon have more democratic rights than the people who live here. I keep hearing about an American empire, but few people notice that the first colony is in the U.S. itself: the capital.
Other than being untrue, it’s an compelling argument.
The residents of the District vote for a mayor and a city council. They have three votes in the Electoral College. They have the full scope of protection on the U.S. Constitution, including all the liberties guaranteed within. What do they lack? The ability to elect U.S. Senators or U.S. Representatives.
Why are they denied this right? Because they’re not a state and Article I of the Constitution specifies that only states have Senators and Representatives. Indeed, no city in the United States has them.
I’ve argued previously that the District should be retroceded to Maryland with the portion containing the seat of government remaining a federal enclave, similar to a military reservation. There’s no push to make that happen. Instead, the residents of the District continue to whine that they should be a state–which makes no sense at all–and to demonstrate a remarkable lack of capacity for self-government.