Got Room For One More?

By Manny Jacobson

Since arriving in D.C. a week and a half ago we have focused on policies and problems in Washington, as a federal government. I nearly, forgot that the city itself is going through its own problems. One of the most prominent problems is making Washington D.C. its own state so it can get a fair representation in the federal government.

You would think that the nation’s capital would not be dealing with a problem such as representation in the federal government that is run out of the city. Think about it, the only time D.C. residents get their voice heard in congress is every 4 years when there is a presidential election. Even then they only get 3 electoral college votes as a city of 650, 000 residents when states such as Wyoming and Vermont have state populations of 583,000 and 627, 000 respectively.

Civil rights for immigrants and foreign policy are hot topics currently in government. Topics like statehood should not be put on the back burner. Why don’t we worry about getting rights to the residents of areas that have  been apart of the nation for over 200 years already?

If you have ever seen the license plates for D.C. residents, you will notice that, at the bottom , it says “Taxation Without Representation”.

Sample Washington D.C. license plate. photo courtesy of talkingpointsmemo.com

Sample Washington D.C. license plate. Photo courtesy of  www.talkingpointsmemo.com

Not only are the residents being denied their fully entitled rights as U.S. citizens , as laid out by the United States Constitution, but they are still taxed as though they do receive their full rights. According to the United Nations, this is a human rights violation.

I mentioned earlier about the license plates in D.C.. Even the President of the United States’ limos sport the infamous plates to show President Obama’s  support of the statehood of the nation’s capital.

Vice President Joe Biden's motorcade passing while our group waits for a bus on 1-9-15. Photo by Manny Jacobson

Vice President Joe Biden’s motorcade passing while our group waits for a bus on 1-9-15. If possible, pay close attention to the wording on the license plate of the limo.  Photo by Manny Jacobson

President Obama's limo being polished while sporting a new license plate  during the inauguration in January of 2013. Photo courtesy of the Washington Times

President Obama’s limo being polished while sporting a new license plate during the inauguration in January of 2013. Photo courtesy of the Washington Times

Now comes the question. Why has statehood not been granted yet?

The answer is not that simple. To start off, there always seems to gridlock when the issue is brought up in congress.  In many instances republicans refuse to vote for this because 76% of  D.C. population are   democrats. Republicans argue that granting statehood will hand 2 senate seats and 1 house seat to Democrats.

I’m having trouble understanding this reasoning. By saying no to granting representation, they are willingly violating these residents’ basic rights. All of this so their political party can stay in control. Something about that is just not right.

Opponents of statehood bring up the idea that nothing will be left for the D.C. to govern over once you take out the federally owned land and buildings. This point made me think really hard about what is and is not federally owned. Immediately I thought of the White House, The Capital and the Representatives offices, the Supreme Court, and the navy yard. Also, I thought about all monuments, memorials, museums, and agency buildings near and on the National Mall.

So what is left? The biggest portions that are left over are all of the businesses, and residences. now you must think about things as a whole.

Yes, the potentially new state will not really see money directly come in from attractions listed above, however, they will still maintain a steady rate of tourists that will help pay for the thousands of shops and restaurants under the state’s regulation.

Really, the only major difference is who runs the city (state). Suggested changes will make the mayor of D.C. the new governor. The city council will become the new state legislators. It’s a big step, but the residents already elected theses people to office, so there should not be much dispute as to who is in charge for the time being. The voters will then have a chance to freely elect people to accurately  represent them in congress.

*Opinions in this blog only pertain to the author. They in no way reflect the views of Drake University, The Washington Center, or any other organization associated with this blog post. 

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