States of Corruption

Over the last couple of days elected officials in California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island have either been subjects of law enforcement raids or formal charges related to corruption brought against them. We in the District know a thing or two about corruption but what makes us different is that our detractors use it as justification for us to be denied equal civil and political rights in America. I’ve never bought the argument that “we’re too corrupt to be a state” because when you look at the states most of them have present day or histories of corruption.

The only path toward statehood is through Congress, an institution that knows both corruption and hypocrisy. And while Congress has not passed many bills this year or last they do spend a lot of time on ceremonial resolutions. If the District’s Delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, wanted to have some fun and make a point at the same time I suggest she craft and offer a ceremonial resolution supporting and defending the rights to self-government, the right to national congressional representation, and the right of the people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island (and other states should be on this resolution too, Virginia) to be treated equally with their neighbors in the rest of the country despite corruption in their state.

I’m no lawyer but I know how to use ‘the Google’ and I served as both a Senate Page and intern while in high school so clearly I’m almost qualified to craft relatively meaningless ceremonial congressional resolutions. I’ll leave it up to our Delegate and her staff to craft a real whopper of an irony laced resolution but here’s my first draft:

A Sense of the Congress Resolution in support of democracy for states that have corrupt elected official.

Whereas, corruption by elected officials in the United States shall be handled by the legal system and/or the ballot box;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island deserve to keep their representatives in Congress because national representation is a right all Americans deserve;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall not be required to send their state budgets to Congress for approval;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall continue to be free and clear of having a meddlesome Congress impose laws solely focused on those states (especially on issues like abortion, gun rights, or needle exchanges);

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall continue to enjoy the right of being able to determine the maximum height of buildings within their borders;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall not have to have their state and local laws subjected to a congressional review period;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall continue to have their Senators vote to confirm or disapprove of federal appointees including judges to all federal courts in the land;

Whereas, the good people of California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island shall be able to keep their state and local government operations open even if a reckless Congress can’t do its job and pass a budget;

Whereas, California, North Carolina, and Rhode Island are not the only states with corruption so let’s not start getting on our own congressional high horse lest someone hold a mirror up to us or our own states;

Therefore, be it resolved that only the perpetrators of crimes in the states shall be punished and in no way shape or form shall the corrupt practices of public officials in the states infringe upon the fundamental democratic rights of citizens in those states because all Americans are created and shall be treated equally.

It’s just an suggestion so feel free to ignore me, most do.

Josh Burch
Brookland, DC

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