Earlier this week the National Tea Party-Republican Party adopted an unbelievably hostile platform with language in direct opposition to DC Statehood. The local DC GOP has stated that they are disappointed with the platform language. They should not be disappointed, they should be mad and they should be screaming loudly about this horrible platform. They should protest it with their mouths and with their pocketbooks. But will they? What’s interesting is that their initial submission to the GOP Platform Committee did not advocate for Statehood, instead they advocated for only increased autonomy and increased voting rights which is exactly in-line with the current language that the National Democratic Party has adopted in draft form but must vote on it at the convention.
So if the local GOP, National GOP, and the National Democratic Party are unwilling to support DC Statehood why, oh why, should District citizens be supporting either party? If they don’t support our right to be full and equal citizens why should we support them? If someone walked up to you on the street and told you that they didn’t think you were equal to them, that you shouldn’t have the same rights as them, or that you were less whole then they were, what would you do? Would you write them a check and say, “boy, you might think I’m lower than dirt, but I like your style so here’s some money.” Would you say, “uh, it sucks that you don’t respect me but you’re just the type of person I want running the country.”
The insanity of the District’s lack of Statehood starts with us, it starts with the 618,000 of us who keep living our lives thinking things might change some day if we just believe in a political party but do not not actively do anything to change our status for ourselves. Supporting either party when they won’t support us is part of the problem. The Democrats in the 1990s seemed to be in a Statehood mood with 80 Democrats plus one Republican cosponsoring the statehood bill in the House but the bill failed and since then the party has been mute. Only in recent years, because of District citizens speaking out on the issue, have the Democrats been pushed on the issue and the results have been varied at best with 28 cosponsors presently in the House on the Statehood Bill coupled with Steny Hoyer & Gerry Connolly speaking out about crushing a commuter tax and President Obama bargaining our right to self-governance over to Speaker Boehner. Yet, we send millions of dollars outside our borders to campaigns from both parties, especially the Democrats, only to have them turn on us when our rights become bargaining chips for their deal making.
To rely on either party to bring about change is foolish, this process has been tried for 200+ years and the citizens of the District are still unequal to the rest of the 50 States. Would it be good if either party officially supports DC Statehood? Yes!!! It would be great but that’s not an end in and of itself the end is Statehood. Until we, the people, are active and organized to push for DC Statehood, it will never happen. The fact that one party is openly hostile to DC Statehood and another party is coyly mute on the issue is troubling but it’s also an opportunity to transcend partisan politics.
Too often our plight and rights are mixed up in this crazy game of which party wins but it’s really about whether or not we deserve to be equal. Like the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the Women’s Suffrage movement before that the cause of DC Statehood is about right vs. wrong, not Democrat vs. Republican. Ultimately, once the people get organized around what is right it will not matter what either party platform says. Our party must be within each and every one of us. We need to develop a collective spirit and create a coordinated struggle that transcends political parties, Wards, races, genders, etc…Our collective movement to become full and equal US citizens is the Statehood movement and it should be the party that unites us all.
Join us in organizing, join us in being active, and join us in seizing our democratic destiny: DC Statehood.
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