Friday, July 04, 2003

Independence Day for D.C.?

Today is the day we celebrate our independence from Britain. As a colony we chafed under the unfair conditions that the king imposed upon us, and the Declaration spelled out exactly the situation that we found deplorable. The situation was so bad we were willing to risk human life to get out from under the King's rule.

Today in D.C., we still have no representation in the Federal legislature. This, of course, was exactly the type of thing that the founding fathers of this country despised. So I find it very hard to believe that the same people who wrote the Declaration, and then later wrote the Constitution, would intend to re-create the exact same conditions which were so detested just years before*.

The declaration reads: [The king] has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

A recent court decision claims that the founding fathers intended to make the District, in effect, another colony. But reading the Declaration of Independence, that seems very odd. Of course the Constitution say absolutely nothing about whether or not the residents of D.C. should or should not have representation in Congress. The court divines that intent from various sections of the Constitution, and attempts to make whole cloth out of it. I believe the framers of the Constitution did what most politician do today when they get to an issue that they don't want to deal with - they ignore it. It is well known that the "great compromise" was what allowed the creation of the make up of House and Senate, and I think that trying to figure out what to do with some 6000 people at the time was not worth risking the compromise. Tragically, it has been over two hundred years, and many in Congress are still willing to ignore the issue.

* Of course it was not exactly the same set of people who authored both documents, but several were involved with both.

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