Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Token Voting Power Gone

A New York Times editorial today draws attention to the District's lack of voting representation.
The long suffering, and underrepresented, taxpayers of the District of Columbia are properly worried about their shrinking role in the new Republican-controlled House. Tucked into the changes enacted by Speaker John Boehner is a rule depriving the district of its one bit of token voting power in Congress.... read the full editorial here.
In related news, last week, Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton reintroduced the same three bills she always drops in each Congress providing alternative ways to obtain representation -- (1) statehood; (2) representation in both the House and Senate without statehood; or (3) giving the District a single vote in the House.  What was it that Albert Einstein said about insanity?

Only full representation is acceptable.  But nothing will pass unless there is a strong push by the District's elected leadership (beyond a billboard or street naming) and grassroots movement from the citizenry.  That is largely absent. 

Having the District share federal voting representation with Maryland, while retaining Home Rule, may be most poltically viable from a national standpoint and historically justifiable.  Statehood is also a worthy goal. 

Until then, the District should focus on increasing our independence from the federal government.  We still don't fully control our courts, our prosecutors, our parks, our legislation, or our budget.  Becoming more like a state, even if not yet a state, would be a positive step.  It may be the only viable area for progress under a Republican House.

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