Barr(ing) democracy — staff editorial

Bob Barr dislikes the idea of democracy in the District. Barr, who spoke on campus Wednesday, has committed himself to neglecting the will of Washington residents by blocking any attempt to fund the use of medicinal marijuana in D.C., which passed overwhelmingly in a citywide referendum last year.

President Clinton rightly vetoed the District’s budget Tuesday because congressional Republicans attached riders to the D.C. appropriations bill. The riders would prevent the D.C. government from allowing medicinal marijuana and needle exchange programs. In explaining his decision to veto the budget, Clinton cited the fact that Congress is “(preventing) local residents from making their own decisions about local matters.” Unlike his Republican adversaries, Clinton did not mention the separate issues of medicinal marijuana and needle exchange programs.

The GW College Republicans should be commended for having brought such an important and controversial figure to campus Wednesday. Likewise, protesters should be afforded the right of voicing their opinions in the form of orderly demonstration. Barr should have the opportunity to explain his stance.

Come election time, Republicans might use as one of their main platforms the issue of state’s rights and local autonomy. States should be able to decide what is good for them, not “big government.” Why doesn’t the core conservative tenet of local self-governance carry over to the District?

Congressional Republicans should not be allowed to ignore the will of the District. Whether they agree with residents of the capital shouldn’t matter. Letting a politician from Georgia pull the purse-strings of D.C. makes about as much sense as letting Washington Mayor Anthony Williams decide what is in the best interest of Barr’s congressional district in Georgia.

Republicans such as Barr are placing partisan politics above the very foundation of America: democracy.

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