The license plates in the District of Columbia say simply, “Taxation without Representation.” This is not some commemoration of the Revolutionary War. It is reality in DC. Citizens in the District pay taxes, but have no voting representation in the Congress of the United States, even though the population is larger than some states. Why? DC is not a “state” as understood in the Constitution. Whatever the legal arrangements that can overturn this hurdle, it is a rank injustice that must be changed.
Washington is overwhelmingly Democratic and African-American, so observers have often linked the lack of voting rights to racism and/or a one-party tendency. So, the esteemed (non-voting) DC Delegate in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, managed to put together a deal that would expand the House from 435 to 437 members, with one new representative coming from DC, and the other from largely white, Republican Utah. It sounded like a deal.
However, this bill was pulled from consideration in the House of Representatives this week. Why? Because the gun rights lobby had added a “poison pill” amendment that would have overturned DC’s gun control laws (which, by the way, are sorely needed). Eleanor Holmes Norton believed it was too steep a price to pay, trading voting rights for DC’s right to set its own laws locally.
I may be missing something, but I cannot find anything on the Web site of the Archdiocese of Washington about DC Voting Rights. And the only mention of “gun control” and “home rule” (the right of DC to enact its own laws without Congressional interference) dates to 2004 when Cardinal McCarrick spoke out against a campaign by “gun rights” advocates to overturn common sense gun control laws.
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It’s time for the archdiocese to deal with issues of social justice that have real local impact.