Over the last year its been hard to find a District City Councilmember who has not been accused of questionable ethical/legal practices. Of course there are those accused of much smaller issues and those accused of taking $300,000 in public money supposed to be spent on sports programs for youth and then buying cars, trips and meals a Hooters. The small accusations and the large accusations are all fodder for those who oppose Statehood. They say, ‘look at DC, their officials are so corrupt that they cannot possibly govern themselves.’ Well, we might not have the most ethical crop of legislators in the country but they do know how to balance a budget in a place where 40% of the land cannot be taxed which I’d say is an impressive legislative feat.
So we’re not perfect, but that’s no reason to deny us the basic rights of a democratic society which is the power to select a government. We can elect a local government but it has limited powers and we have no say in the national government although we pay the highest per capita in federal taxes in the entire country and pay more federal taxes than 17 other states.
The argument against our right to self-governance by saying that we’re too unethical is just a bunch of garbage. Yes, we have elected some folks with bad judgment and unethical behaviors but so have folks in the 50 states. Our friends a Wikipedia have a great page with all of the elected officials who have been convicted of crimes including this great list of governors:
- Rod Blagojevich (D-Illinois) 2011
- Don Siegelman (D-Alabama) 2010
- John Rowland (Connecticut) 2004
- George Ryan (R-Illinois) 2006
- Edwin Edwards (D-Louisiana) 2000
- Bob Taft (R-Ohio) 2005-technically pleaded ‘no contest’ to ethics violations
- John Fife Symington (R-Arizona) 1997
- Jim Guy Tucker (D-Arkansas) 1996
- David Lee Walters (D-Oklahoma) 1993
- Edward Daniel DiPrete (R-Rhode Island) 1998
- Arch A. Moore (R-West Virginia) 1990
- To see the complete list of corrupt elected officials go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_American_state_and_local_politicians_convicted_of_crimes
And the list goes on and on with both legislators and governors convicted of crimes they committed while in office or seeking office. We’re not perfect, I wish we were. The reality is that we are imperfect too, like the people and elected officials in the 50 states but they have power that we don’t and we are not treated as equals to them under our form of government.
We’re no better than our fellow citizens and we’re no worse, we’re the same but treated unequally.
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