Back Again?

May 24, 2011

Once again, it has been far too long since I have written.  I am going to do my best to return to writing (I know, you’ve heard it before) consistently this summer.

In any event, DC Voting Rights have been on my mind recently.

I find little in contemporary arguments that would sway me to favor providing DC with voting representation in Congress.  I believe the Constitution is quite clear about apportioning representation among the several States, which DC is not, and providing Congress the power to legislate on behalf of the District, which in my rudimentary interpretation means DC residents are in fact fully represented by 535 congressmen who have a vested interest (all of whom work here and a few of whom live here) in ensuring that the District, as a municipality, functions smoothly and, as the center of the federal government, is free from the banality of local politics.  Imagine if the well-being of DC was vested not in 535 Members of Congress but 3 representatives instead.

I would also suggest that DC residents be careful not to equate the inadequacies of local DC government with a lack of representation at the federal level.  While some may be prone to see DC’s failings as the result of congressional inattention, it may be more appropriate to direct that frustration at corrupt and inept local officials and the parochial machine politics that have come to defined the City for decades.  It is important to note that DC typically receives federal appropriations equal or exceeding amounts allocated to similarly populated states, so shortcomings in DC operations may indicate a blockage in the political pipeline somewhere after the federal government’s role.

I’ll conclude by addressing the recent uproar over unfavorable (to DC) provisions in the FY 2011 continuing resolution.  Here is a big insider secret: the final bill was a compromise!  It is naive to think that DC was the only locality harshly treated in the Bill, and that voting representation would have had a great impact–compromises often involve mutual sacrifices to achieve a greater gain–in this case, continued operation of the ENTIRE federal government.  Stop and think of the negative impact a government shutdown would have had on DC residents and businesses.  City officials’ immature reactions to the Bill’s passage are a stark example as to why DC is continually denied federal voting representation: the necessity to remove operation of the federal government from the vicissitudes of local poli-tricks.

P.S. J-Boehn, I’d take “no taxation” instead of the representation.  Can I get an “Amen!,” Puerto Rico and Guam?