The comment below is from citizenwGerry Wenhyam who commented my article, Washington DC As A State. He is a resident of Washington, DC, and offers his considered opinion on the issue. I thought I should publish it on the front page.
Comment if you will, and enjoy.
I live in DC, and I have to agree with you on several points, but I’d like to correct some misconceptions.
DC proper is NOT the wealthiest city in the country. Much of the wealthiest part of the “DC metro” area is to the north and west, in the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. DC proper, especially the largest two eastern quadrants, with most of the population, is actually quite blue collar, and fairly low income. Only 170,000 of the 600,000 DC population work for the federal government. The rest of the local Federal workforce (more than 90 percent of the “DC” federal workforce) live in the Maryland and DC suburbs, and can therefore vote. If you are going to disallow federal employees from voting, don’t forget to disallow the vote for the millions of Federal employees who live in other cities as well. (Good luck with that!) DC has by far the largest proportion of daily commuters from the suburbs of any city in the country, and all of those commuters from outside DC can vote. They also impose a large demand on DC city services, of which a disproportionate share of the cost is borne by actual city residents (there is no commuter tax allowed).
A couple more points:
At the time of The Great Compromise of 1787, which set the House membership based on population, and the Senate as two senators per state, the largest state by population, Virginia, had ten times the population of the smallest state. Today, the largest state by population, California, has over 70 times the population of the smallest, Wyoming (which has less population than DC), and is one of the fastest growing as well. The disproportion gets rapidly worse every year. We need not divide up the states to mitigate this growing disproportion, but we might need to “re-state” the Great Compromise; For example, perhaps we could allocate additional Senators based on each full increment of ten million population…, that would give the largest, fast-growing states, like California, Texas, and Florida a more proportionate and appropriate representation. California with 37 million would get 3 more senators and soon 4), Texas with 25 million would get 2 more senators, Florida and New York Ohio, Pennsylvania and Illinois would each get one additional senator, To compensate, those states with LESS than one million population (currently Wyoming, [District of Columbia?], Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, and Montana — in order by size), might get only ONE senator.
Th Constitution speaks of the people of the several states (NOT the RESIDENTS of the several states). The people of DC ARE the people of the several states – they are certainly not the people of the Asian steppes, nor of the Australian outback, nor of the Argentinian pampas, nor of the arctic tundra, nor…well, you get my drift. Military serving abroad and American expatriates are allowed to vote absentee regardless of the length of their residency abroad, or their intention to return to reside in the fifty states. I propose we allow DC residents a similar arrangement,where each DC resident declares affiliation or affinity with a single state, and votes there absentee. This would allow our nation to progress toward a “more perfect Union”, closer to fulfilling the fundamental first principle of our founders, that “just [ie, legitimate] power derives from the consent of the governed…” (ALL the governed.
Finally, if DC should have been kept a depopulated zone, we could start over. Forty miles north of the town of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, carve a new district for the seat of government, from uninhabited grasslands and allow only tents and porta-potties for the legislators, who would be the only occupants allowed during legislative sessions. After the legislative sessions, remove the tents and porta-potties and return it to grasslands. Return the former District to Maryland, and get your government of the backs of its residents.
We only want to participate equally in our native land. Most Federal employees (especially the lower ranks) have very little say in policy, less than you do, what with the Hatch act etc.We DC denizens seek Equality, Nothing More, but Equality, Nothing Less.
Thanks for your consideration.