Let me inform you of the greatest violation to our Constitution that is still currently on the books: the disenfranchisement of the citizens of Washington, D.C.
Every year the federal government effectively ignores the Constitutional rights of six hundred thousand Americans.
Many misconceptions about D.C. perpetuate this injustice.
Some think that the Constitution says D.C. is different. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution gives Congress legislative authority over D.C. and stipulates that the district may not exceed 10 square miles in size.
Nothing else concerning the government or makeup of Washington, D.C. is mentioned.
The Constitution is meant to guarantee the voting rights of Americans, considering that six of the 27 amendments to it deal with expanding voting rights to American citizens.
The Ninth Amendment also guarantees that just because a right is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution does not mean that American citizens do not have that right.
This means that just because the Constitution doesn’t mention D.C. residents can vote doesn’t mean that they can’t.
Others think that D.C. residents pay less in taxes.
This is completely untrue.
D.C. residents in 2007 paid a total of around 16 billion in federal income taxes, a total greater than that of 19 states, 18 of which have a greater population than D.C. does.
Early in our country’s history, there were cries of “No Taxation Without Representation” when the British refused to give us representation in Parliament.
This has become the cry of the citizens of D.C. and we put it on our license plates to show just how unjust this situation is.
Though nothing in the Constitution restricts D.C. residents from voting and we pay as much (and sometimes more) in taxes than other states, D.C. still has no representation in Congress.
The simple and very sad explanation is not a Constitutional one, but one of party politics.
The Republican Party has continually voted against giving voting rights to D.C. because D.C. is a very liberal city.
Since 1973, when D.C. first elected a mayor and a city council and was allowed to vote for president, a Republican has never been voted into office.
In essence, giving D.C. representation would be the same as adding two Democrats to the Senate and one Democrat to the House.
While this might be bad for Republicans, that really doesn’t matter.
What matters is that every citizen in the United States is granted their Constitutional right to address their grievances to the government and the best way to do that is to vote.
The point of a government is to represent the people.
It is not to represent the interests of the Republican Party.
D.C. is the only capital city in the world where the residents of that city cannot vote.
D.C. deserves the right to vote, plain and simple.
It is the right thing to do.
It is the American thing to do.
As long as this injustice continues, we are not the land of the free and the home of the brave.
We are the home of ignorance and ridiculous party politics.