Old Year, New Year, Let’s Make it a Great Year

As we say good-bye to 2011 and hello to 2012 there are things we should reflect on and things to look forward to. Here a quick rundown from what we experienced in 2011 and things we can achieve in 2012:

2011-We’d like to say good-bye to:

Friends Who Sell Us Out: By saying “John, I’ll give you DC” President Obama sold us out. President Obama was what many of us felt our biggest friend ever in the White House which is why him bargaining our right to self-governance away hurt so bad. President Obama, if he believed in DC Statehood, autonomy, or self-determination would not have done what he did. Let’s hope none of our other supposed friends turn on us and sell us out in the coming year.

Half of the City Council: Although the DC City Council has balanced 14 or 15 budgets in a row (yes, a sign of good government management/stewardship) they have shown themselves void of sound ethical decisions and decision making. I hope half of them resign or lose in their re-election campaigns because we really do need to clean house so that the council is making policy not the news for various investigations. I have a pick-up truck and would be happy to help folks move if that expedites the process…we need to send a strong signal to Congress and the rest of the country that we can manage our own affairs in an ethical manner.

Statehood Speeches: Too many damn speeches on DC Statehood by our supposed leaders followed by zero organizing work, zero outreach, zero education, and thus zero results. The speeches all sound the same and they are tired…the Statehood movement needs to evolve, advance, and get active.

Mixed Messages: We need to give up on just one vote in the House (H.R. 267) or two in the Senate and one in the House (H.R. 266) because they are first and foremost unconstitutional and secondly they won’t get us what we want: Statehood. If Congress ever threw us one of those unconstitutional bones they’d never allow a vote on Statehood in my lifetime (I’m 34 and plan on living a long-long time). It’s time for city leaders, civic groups, our delegate, and the non-profits doing advocacy work to come together and say that we want Statehood and only Statehood. Stop mixing messages and confusing outsiders: We only want, need, and deserve Statehood.

Congress: Although we need Congress to pass H.R. 265 (the New Columbia Admission Act) this Congress is pretty much worthless. They can’t agree upon the color of the sky so heaven knows they’ll be too crippled to address the issue of Statehood. The election can’t come soon enough too bad I don’t have anybody to vote for.

2011-Things we are grateful for:

Statehood Youth Movement: Much respect goes out to those young activists who got arrested in June or July outside the White House with several religious leaders. Those young New Columbians really were inspirational and I hope they keep organizing young people across the city in the coming year.

Brookland: My beloved hometown (yes, I’m calling Brookland my hometown) has embraced the Statehood movement. With a lot of long-time activists and newcomers to the cause we’re building a nice coalition here in the movement for Statehood, which includes a Statehood Committee within the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association.

15 Members of Congress: There are 15 members of Congress that are cosponsors of the DC Statehood Bill and they deserve our thanks and our support. They are standing up for us and with us. For more information on those members check out this link on the bill itself with the cosponsors listed: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h112-265

DC Statehood Alliance: Finally, the Statehood movement which has many different players and organizations in coming together under the umbrella of the DC Statehood Alliance in lobbying members of Congress to cosponsor the New Columbia Admission Act.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray: Wow, this guy has gotten zero credit for anything this past year as his administration has been mired in scandal. He does, however, deserve a lot of credit for getting arrested after the crummy budget deal that sold out DC. He showed good leadership and it’s just a shame that more New Columbians didn’t leave their homes over the course of the year to voice their displeasure and disgust with how Congress treats us. The Mayor deserves credit for this leadership on this and for speaking more forcefully for Statehood than our last two mayors.

2012- Things we want to achieve:

Statehood: Duh! It’s long past time for DC Statehood…

100 House Cosponsors to H.R. 265: Back in 1993, the DC Statehood Bill in the House had 81 cosponsors and I think a worthy goal would be to get 100 cosponsors in this Congress. We have 15 so far and really the DC Statehood Alliance has only been lobbying since September. With some momentum behind us and growing support I think 100 cosponsors is a realistic goal. I also think that we need to reach out to Tea Partiers and get their support for this issue of Taxation Without Representation, something that should be near and dear to their ideology.

A U.S. Senate DC Statehood Bill: So far, no Senator has offered the New Columbia Admission Act as a bill before the Senate but there still are several members of the Senate around who cosponsored the last Statehood Bill that was offered in the Senate (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s103-898). I think if we are persistent and can organize properly we can get a Senator to sponsor the bill and pick up cosponsors for the bill.

20 Neighborhood Statehood Committees: Neighbors United for DC Statehood believes that grassroots organizing and action will finally bring about the movement that will lead us to Statehood. Given our work to really engage Brooklanders and the start of something in Manor Park I think that by the end of 2012 we can have 20 Statehood groups organized in neighborhoods across the District. Of course the long-term goal is to have 130+ neighborhood united and organized but to be realistic let’s aim for 20 Statehood groups from neighborhoods around the city.

There are a lot of other things I’d like to see achieved in the coming year but I want to stay focused and not stay up too late on New Year’s Eve demonstrating what a loser I really am that I’m typing this instead of off at some festive party…going to sleep by 11:30 on New Year’s Eve is just fine with me.

Thanks to everyone for your support for the Statehood movement. We have a lot of work left to do and we need you with us every step of the way…to join us just email us at unitedforstatehood@gmail.com.

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