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Why Won’t George Bush Spread Democracy in DC?

The House of Representatives has voted to expand democracy to American citizens in Washington DC. Over the past 200 years, through the Civil War, the end of slavery, the women's suffrage movement, two World Wars, and the defeat of the Soviet Union, America has neglected to expand voting rights to hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. Washington DC has no real representation in the House or the Senate. And despite this latest vote it's likely to stay that way. It doesn't look like the bill will pass in the Senate, and even if it does George W. Bush is likely to veto it. "It's unconstitutional!" is the whine from Republicans like Senator Mitch McConnell. You see, it's not because they are afraid that Washington DC residents will vote for Democrats, or because DC residents are largely poor and black. Of course they think everyone should have the right to vote! Of course they aren't elitists or racists! It's just that the procedural steps for granting suffrage properly is much more important to a democracy than, you know, actual democracy. How many times have we heard about spreading democracy from President Bush? In fact, spreading democracy was the reason we invaded Iraq in the first place, that is after we didn't find any weapons of mass destruction. Any President willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to give Iraqis the vote should be leading this charge to give it to citizens of his own country. I will give the Republicans in the Senate and the President some credit - they are right to criticize this particular bill, just not for the wormy, hypocritical reasons they cite. This bill is a sort of compromise - it would give one House seat to DC and another to Republican-leaning Utah, which just missed getting another seat in the last census. While it's better than nothing, this bill still doesn't give DC residents any representation in the Senate. If Wyoming deserves two Senators, then so does DC. Perhaps an amendment really is the way to go, but I doubt these Senators would vote to propose one to the states. Instead of saying "I can't vote for this because it should be an amendment," they should just tell the truth: they don't want to give seats in Congress to all the people in DC because they tend to vote for the other side. Listen, there are a lot of political issues in this country that have two (or more) perfectly valid viewpoints. We can debate back and forth on gun control, the death penalty, tax rates, etc. to our heart's content. Representation in a democracy is a not one of these issues. The fact that we can get more votes to ban flag burning than to give DC residents representation is shameful, disgusting and undemocratic.

Washington DC: Taxation Without Representation

One of the most shameful facts about the United States of America has been in the news lately.  No, I'm not talking about the Iraq war, teen pregnancy, urban poverty, or even election fraud.  I'm talking about the fact that U.S. citizens who live in Washington DC have no Senators and no Congressmen. DC has more people than Wyoming, and almost as many as Vermont.  So why are they treated like felons?  The problem, at least right now, is that a majority of DC residents are black. Now, this isn't old school Jim Crow racism; the real issue is that blacks tend to vote overwhelmingly for the democrats.  Giving DC the vote would be giving the Democrats two Senators and a member in the House. This has been in the news lately because of a recent plan to give DC one representative, although it looks like that plan is now on hold. The idea was to make a trade:  DC would get a representative and Utah would get one as well.  Maybe it was just a waste of time and money, but there was some thought that Utah could snag their new representative if they moved fast enough. There were a lot of little problems with the plan, but my main criticism would be that the situation is ridiculous, and we should amend the Constitution immediately to give DC full representation in Congress.  This should have been done years ago. In a sense, it is election fraud.  Despite our shamefully low voter turnout, most Americans are aware of other problems with recent elections - the hanging chads in 2000, the dodgy record of certain electronic voting machines, etc.  Very few have ever heard that Washingtonians aren't afforded the same rights the rest of us have long enjoyed.  Those who have heard it in high school government class have long forgotten.   Stop 10 people on the street, and you'll be lucky if even one knows what you are talking about. Everyone living in our nation's capital, an estimated 582,049 people, is treated like a second-class citizen.  They have only been able to vote for President since the 23rd Amendment was passed in 1961.  But they have never been able to vote for their own Senators or members of the House of Representatives. Now keep in mind this is a country that began started a revolution rallying around the slogan, "no taxation without representation."  You'll see that slogan on the DC license plates, although not the plates on the current President's limo. While President Bush sends our troops around the world to spread democracy (with dubious results), he and his party are unwilling to spread a little right outside their doorstep, and the Democrats are doing little to help. So if this is news to you, spread the word - perhaps if this skeleton were out of the closet, we might be able to act responsibly and fix this problem. [youtube]1pYQGaYyDgs[/youtube]