By JOHN E. WARREN
The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint
Once again, the idea of statehood for the District of Columbia has not only come before the U.S. Congress, but has also passed the House of Representatives. Most of us know that the 700,000 plus residents of D.C. have lived under taxation without representation, the very thing that was at the heart of the Boston Tea Party of 1773. That event objected to the British taxing the colonists on tea when they had no representation in the British Parliament. While the original idea for creating D.C. as a District was that no state would house the national capitol, that idea should not have survived the right of the people of the District of Columbia to have representation since they pay taxes.
D.C., like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam as U.S. Territories should be granted statehood in this enlightened age, if desired. The major opposition to D.C. statehood is the fact that such a state would be granted two U.S. Senators and possibly two Representatives in the U.S. Congress. The Republicans opposed statehood because those two senators would most likely be Democrats. That would change the balance of power in the Senate, as we saw with the state of Georgia electing two democratic senators this year.
In every state, “we the people” should be taking a very close look at all our Republican elected officials. It has become very clear that those persons have betrayed their oath of office in which they swore to “protect and defend” the Constitution of the United States. Well, that constitution contains the Bill of Rights. It contains the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, which promised “equal protection” under law, and the right to vote and the obligation to defend America “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. With the guiding language of that document, there is no reason that every Republican in the U.S. Congress should be voting against the interest and will of the people they are supposed to represent.
Statehood for the District of Columbia should not be an issue. On April 26, 1982, D.C. convened the District of Columbia Statehood Constitutional Convention which held twenty-eight drafting sessions and met through May 27,1982, formally shaping a constitution that was submitted to the Congress, but never approved. The fact that a Constitutional Convention was held, and a constitution was drafted as required under the Enactment Clause of the U.S. Constitution certainly meets the requirements of statehood. It should also be noted that our own late publisher, Gerri Warren of the San Diego Voice & Viewpoint, was a resident and elected Delegate from Ward VI of the District of Columbia to that convention. She was also the one who offered the motion to name the new state “the State of New Columbia.”
This is a year in which we as African Americans and Black people now citizens of this great country, must work harder than ever before to protect democracy and our rights which are now under so great an attack. Yes, we need to be concerned about D.C. statehood and lobby our elected members of the Congress to make this a reality.
John E. Warren is the publisher of The San Diego Voice & Viewpoint.