Opinion

Our Forefathers Did Not Want D.C. to Become a State

One of my favorite things to do is to sit and scroll through Facebook and the local groups that have been created of my home town of Lodi. That is how I came across the following image.

It had angered me for two reasons. Reason number one is for the mere fact that they make a statistic using race; I feel that it’s these tactics that stirs anger and causes our racial tensions. I can see why they do it, for the mere fact of showing how the black vote is being repressed. There is no shocker there, the government has been doing that for years. However, all that is just another issue in itself. Here I want to talk about the main issue, and that is Washington D.C. becoming a state. In my view I do not think it should be a state. The gentleman that posted this post, well we had somewhat of a heated argument and for that I would like to apologize because I lost my composure and said things that tend to make people look like a pompous ass. It’s just that I fill strongly about our Nation’s Capital being just that, our Capital.

What the argument is all about is “Taxation without Representation.” In fact, the District of Columbia started printing “Taxation without Representation” on their license plates in the year 2000. In 2016 they changed that to say “End Taxation without Representation.” “Taxation without Representation” is a political slogan that originated during the American Revolution. It was a grievance between the American Colonist against Great Britain when the Colonist were under British Parliament control. The British was imposing taxes like the Stamp Act and the Townsend Act, and people in the Colonies were not getting any voting say. Advocates of this bill are making that argument that the United States is treating Washington D.C. like the British Parliament treated the colonist in the colonial days, “Taxation without Representation.”

The land that Washington D.C. sits on originally belonged to the Nacotchtank People, also known as the Anacostans. If you have not guessed it yet, they were Native Americans. The British Colonists violently drove them out and that land was a part of Maryland and Virginia. The question becomes, how did Washington D.C. become the Nation’s Capital seeing as it once was Maryland and Virginia? In order to answer that question, we have to go back in time.

It all started in 1783. Congress was in Philadelphia meeting when they received a letter from the soldiers of the Continental Army, who were stationed in Philadelphia as well. The letter was demanding payment for their service. On June 20th, 1783, 400 soldiers marched down to Independence Hall where Congress was in session, and blocked the door and refused to let the delegates out of the building until they have been paid. A frightened Congress trapped in Independence Hall, wondering how will they ever escape alive.

Alexander Hamilton came to the rescue that day and tried to persuade and reason with the soldiers to let him and the other delegates out of the building. Alexander’s persuasiveness played off, the soldiers calmed down and the delegates were able to leave the building. That evening Congress met in secret and demanded that the Pennsylvania Council District protect them from the mutineers or they would be forced to move to another location. Pennsylvania failed to act so, our forefathers of this great Nation decided to create a Federal District. A district that was distinct from the other states. This would allow Congress to provide for its own security.

On January 23, 1788 Federalist No. 43, written by James Madison who would become our fourth president, was published. In there he talks about the importance of the Government having a Federal District. He writes:

“To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States…This consideration has the more weight as the gradual accumulation of public improvements at the stationary residence of the government would be both too great a public pledge to be left in the hands of a single State, and would create so many obstacles to a removal of the government, as still further to abridge its necessary independence. The extent of this federal district is sufficiently circumscribed to satisfy every jealousy of an opposite nature. And as it is to be appropriated to this use with the consent of the State ceding it; as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it.”

In 1789 the Constitution of the United States became effective. Article One, Section Eight, Clause Seventeen states:

“To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings; And 5 To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.”

It is clear that our forefathers wanted separation from the States, thus creating the Federal District we call Washington D.C.

In 1790, land from Maryland and Virginia was ceded, creating Washington D.C. In 1846 some of the land was returned to Virginia, reducing the District. However, after the Civil War, Washington D.C. expanded beyond its originally planned boundaries. This my friends is how Washington D.C. was created. Now let’s come back to present day.

The residents of the district are angry. It has been said that the residents pay some of the highest rates of Federal Tax. They are angry because they have no representation in the Senate. What that means is they have no say in who is appointed to the President’s cabinet, or any conformation of Federal Judges. When I think about it that way, I ask myself, do we even have any say in that matter, and California has two Senators. Let’s face it we have no say on what bills get passed or what Congress wants to do. We vote for representatives and senators. They sell us what we want to hear to get elected and once they get to D.C., they do what they want. It might be different if we actually got to vote on the actual legislation that is passed by a representative we may or may not have voted for.

With all that said, Washington D.C. has come a long way over the years, as far as their voice being heard.

March 29, 1961 the Twenty-third Amendment is ratified with the proper number of votes by the States. This Amendment allows the residents of Washington D.C.’s voice to be heard in the Presidential Election. The citizens of Washington D.C. were able to vote for President for the first time in 1964.

When Congress took control of the Federal District, they would have full authority over local matters within the District of Columbia. However, in 1974 the District was allowed to be governed by a locally elected Mayor and a City Council. Unfortunately, Congress still has the power to veto any laws they disagree with.

In 1991 Eleanor Holmes Norton becomes a non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives. She is able to serve on house committees and speak on the house floor and even sponsor legislation, however, she is unable to vote on the house floor.

This was still unacceptable to the residents of Washington D.C., so, in 1993 legislation was introduced to the House that would start the process of D.C. becoming a state. The bill was defeated 277 to 153. Then in 2020 H.R. 51 was introduced, another piece of legislation for Washington D.C. To become a state. This time it passed the House with a vote of 232 to 180. However, Mitch McConnel refused to bring it to a vote. The Washington Post wrote an article about McConnel on the issue with the headline reading “McConnell seems to call the prospect of D.C. statehood full-bore socialism.” Then, after Biden got elected, Holmes reintroduced the bill to the House in early January, 2021, with Carper introducing the bill to Senate.

Why the big push to make Washington D.C. a state? Is there some alternative motive behind the Democratic party? If D.C. becomes a state it is feared from the Republican party that the Democrats will pick up an extra seat in the House and two in the Senate, seeing as Washington D.C. is overwhelmingly Democrat.

According to the Washington Post article, “an aide to the majority leader said McConnel sees statehood not as socialist, but as another example of government overreach on the part of Democrats, akin to the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all.” (Article written by Jenna Portnoy June 18, 2019.)

In that same article of the Washington Post Jenna Portnoy quoted LaToya Foster, a spokeswoman for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser. LaToya stated, “D.C. Statehood is the civil rights issue of our time and embodies our nation’s founding democratic principle: the right to vote.” I can understand that. However, the residents of D.C. are allowed to vote for President and they are allowed to vote for the nonvoting House member. Again, I will keep my stance and say it is wrong to go against the Constitution and our forefather’s intent of a federal District.

On June 26, 2020 Nicholas Wu wrote an article in the USA Today quoting D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s twitter account when the mayor wrote, “I was born without representation but I swear – I will not die without representation. Together, we will achieve D.C. statehood, and when we do, we will look back on this day and remember all who stood with us on the right side of history.”

The right side of history? I do not think the right side of history would be going against what the forefather’s created. I think that would be the wrong side of history. By looking back at the Founders history of the making of our Great nation, it is clear as to their intent of what is needed, and what they wanted. They wanted Washington D.C. to be the Capital of this nation, not a state.

I still understand that over 700,000 people feel they have no representation. How do we fix that to where they have a vote? Simple, make them Maryland residents. After all, the remaining land that is part of Washington D.C. was ceded from Maryland. It only makes sense. This way, Washington D.C. stays is tact and people in that area will have representation and become Maryland citizens like our forefather’s intended.

What is really sad, is that Puerto Rico has 3.19 million people with out representation. Where are their cries for Statehood? Where is their representation? Let’s take care of other territories for statehood before we go changing the Constitution and our forefathers intentions of having a Federal District that is supposed to be separate from the States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button