It is not liberal, conservative nor progressive to support D.C. congressional representation – it is fundamentally American. The fact that 500,000 U.S. citizens are systematically disenfranchised from their government by the denial of a voting representative in Congress is the most appalling and hypocritical aspect of modern American democracy.
Though it might sound trite, there was a war fought over the principle of taxation without representation. Yet D.C. residents still live under a pre-Revolutionary War dilemma – they continue to pay federal taxes without voting representation in the House or the Senate. The post of the non-voting congressional delegate in the House is less than a token gesture to a city plagued with serious problems that must be addressed through a voice in Congress.
While one may be against turning the District into a state, an argument for D.C. to remain without representation in Congress is incomprehensible. In this issue is the third in a series of articles on the status of D.C. voting rights (HEAD, p. 1) that explores the tragic history of this movement, which is continually put down by strong Republican pressure. Republicans are afraid of the D.C. minority population that would surely produce Democratic representatives.
Whether D.C. gets two senators and one representative or some sort of compromise, the city must receive some sort of voting representation. Taxation without representation is not just a cute phrase; it is a serious problem that negatively affects D.C. residents on many fronts.
This article appeared in the April 17, 2003 issue of the Hatchet.