The Democratic Party will soon need to prove that it’s a democratic political party. Over the coming weekend the Platform Committee will be meeting to draft the party’s platform to be approved at the convention in a few weeks. This year’s platform should clearly and forcefully advocate for DC Statehood (aka New Columbia). In 2004 and 2008 the District’s Delegate in the House of Representatives, Eleanor Holmes Norton, had language supporting DC Statehood removed from the Party’s Platform. After two years of non-stop congressional meddling and intrusion into our local affairs it seems like a no brainer to put language back into the party platform supporting statehood. Statehood is the only way to make us free from congressional intrusion and equal with the other states in terms of representation at the national level. The Democratic Party should be supporting these very basic democratic principles, right?
The party must stick by its democratic foundation and thus support the only solution that will truly make residents of the District equal with the rest of the country and that is by making the residential and commercial portions of the District the state of New Columbia. The platform committee meeting this weekend in Detroit will come up with a draft party platform. If the party platform includes this non-statehood endorsing language it’s because the party only wants to support the veil of democracy not the practice of it:
“Equal rights for all American citizens has become a revered American creed. Every citizen of the United States is entitled to equal citizenship rights, including the 600,000 residents of the nation’s capital who pay federal taxes without representation. The American citizens who live in Washington, DC like the citizens of the 50 states, should have full and equal congressional rights and the right to have the laws and budget of their local government respected without congressional interference.”
If the party’s platform includes that most important word “statehood” in it then the people of the District should feel pleased that a group of committed democrats (small ‘d’) have made a difference. A small group has been pushing and advocating behind the scenes to make sure that the platform has support for DC Statehood in it despite the fact that powerful elected officials in the District are pushing for the more feel good wishy-washy language. The Party must decide whether it stands for sound bites or stands for what’s right…this decision could be very telling about the direction of the election and the country. I hope they are on the side of what is right.
Statehood for the District and its citizens should be an unalienable right that all political parties stand up for but will the Democratic Party demonstrate that it is a democratic party?
By the way…as previously noted the Green Party Supports DC Statehood and we’ll be focusing on where the GOP stands in a future post. Statehood is a non-partisan civil rights issue but it is important to know where the parties stand.