A Comment To – Washington DC As A State

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.


citizenwGerry Wenhyamsays:

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.

2 thoughts on “A Comment To – Washington DC As A State”

  1. “A law is unjust if it is inflicted on a minority that, as a result of being denied the right to vote, had no part in enacting or devising the law.” – MLK Jr., Letter from a Birmingham Jail

    “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good, will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” – C. S. Lewis

    “If a law is unjust, a man is not only right to disobey it, he is obligated to do so.” – Thomas Jefferson

    “…just Power is derived from the Consent of the Governed….” – Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence

    Now WHY is it, that over half a million DC residents, ordinary Americans, are not allowed to vote and participate equally in their own country? Please explain?

  2. It was Thomas Jefferson and the other founders that understood that those who receive largess from the government should not be in a position to vote themselves more. This is understood by everybody. There is no argument, there.

    Those quotes you bring are nice sounding, but practical politics and good sense dictates that DC not be a state. That would be a dilution of everyone else’s vote to let a few, privileged voters increase their wealth at the expense of the rest of the nation.

    DC residents participate in the Presidential elections, so there has not been a total disenfranchisement.

    It seems to me that the best solution for DC residents who want to vote in Congressional elections ( and that seems to be your goal) would be for either Maryland or Virginia to annex the district. But, that would negate the reason for DC’s existence, anyway.

    People are free to move to another area where they can vote. Yeah. I know this is repugnant, but it is similar to people anywhere who have difficulties, yet the problem is not bad enough to move. My ancestors moved many times. My parents moved for economic opportunity. I have moved states more than once in pursuit of opportunity. Why don’t you move out of Washington, DC?

    Is the reason you don’t move because of your job? I am not sympathetic. Remember, that most of the businesses in that part of the world feed off the Federal Government, or sell stuff to those who work for the government. The primary reason for commercial or industrial activity is the Federal Government.Your protestations and numbers notwithstanding, without the government, and the people’s money, you wouldn’t be living there,anyway.

    If you live in DC you have made a conscious choice to live there and to forfeit your vote for congressional representation. If you didn’t make that choice, either you weren’t paying attention, or your parents weren’t.

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