May 02, 2011 - 9:16 am

Statehood is the answer

We created this simple graphic to illustrate the disparity and unfairness we DC residents face. We are required to pay Federal taxes but are prohibited from electing anyone to the Senate or House of Representatives. Furthermore, our unique status gives a Congress we cannot elect the legal right to meddle in our local affairs to score points with various lobbying groups.

The American federal system separates the scope of local affairs from nation affairs. Americans duly elect one government for local affairs (the city, county, and state) and another government for national affairs (the House, Senate, and president). The 50 states collect taxes, pass budgets, collect garbage, pave roads, provide health services, and educate children without needing Congressional approval for every action.

DC residents elect a council and mayor, but Congress and the president may overturn any act of the elected DC government in a way they cannot for any state. Furthermore, DC residents have been able to vote in presidential elections since the 1964 election, but are denied the right to vote for any Senators, and are granted one non-voting (i.e. politically impotent) delegate to the House of Representatives.

On Christmas Eve in 1973, Congress passed a statute granting DC residents the “privilege” of a limited form of self-government.  The problem with this situation is that Congress can redefine or repeal this statute on a whim without any consent from the 601,723 people it actually governs.

Congress, however, cannot redefine or repeal statehood.

Statehood is the only way to guarantee DC residents our irrevocable and inalienable right to self-determination.  The time has come to admit the District of Columbia and its 600,000 residents as the 51st state.