Over the next few days members of the Republican Party will draft a platform that will theoretically unite the party of Abraham Lincoln with descendants like Todd Akin and lead them into the fall election. There is slim to no chance that they will take up DC Statehood as a unifying cause in their platform but if they were true to both their Lincolnian and modern day Tea Party principles they would. By combining the civil rights platform established by Abraham Lincoln and championed in the 1960s by Everett Dirksen combined with the Tea Party’s emphasis on local control over local affairs it seems like DC Statehood should be a natural fit for the Republican Party. However it most certainly is not.
Sadly, the GOP is missing people in its leadership (and in its base) like Wayne Gilchrist (R-MD) who was the only Republican member of the House to vote for the DC Statehood Bill back in 1993. The GOP is missing in its leadership people like Bob Dole (R-Ks), Mark Hatfield (R-Or), and yes, Strom Thurmond (R-Sc) & Barry Goldwater (R-Az) who all in 1978 voted for the Constitutional Amendment for equal voting rights for District citizens (not statehood but a big constitutionally protected step forward for democracy). While the Democrats have not been champions for Statehood for the District, the GOP has been openly hostile toward the District and its citizens over the last few years.
Lincoln reminded the nation in the Gettysburg Address that “our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” Yet today 618,000 Americans living in the communities that surround the U.S. Capitol and the White House are not treated equally and thus our system of government is still not “of the people, by the people and for the people.” Lincoln, the father of the GOP, took a tough stand to do what was right to preserve, protect, and expand democracy and the time has come for his Party to complete our country’s unfinished business and support the push for DC Statehood.
To contact the Republican Party’s Platform Committee you can email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org