View from the Cheap Seats

WeWantStatehood2I might or might not go to the inauguration but I’m confident of two things: 1) my view will suck compared to the view of the District’s leadership and 2) the District’s leadership has looked terrible across the board in regards to how they’ve behaved and planned for this inauguration. The height of the District’s buffoonery goes to the fact that they spent $342,000 on a viewing stand. Jack Evans then had a big-time diva moment by whining about being able to drive to and park at the Wilson Building according to his own schedule. And finally, the District commissioned a protest message that’s too long and too vague for anyone to read or understand.

Jack Evans’ whining is a disgrace but the bigger acts deserving our wrath are the cost of the viewing stand and the poor messaging displayed on it. The District just announced $200,000 in grant money to promote voting rights, autonomy, and statehood yet they spend $342,000 on a viewing stand. Where are their priorities? Clearly it seems to be on themselves and their comfort and not the unalienable rights of their constituents. The District should be spending millions of dollars a year to empower and organize residents to take up the statehood struggle and very little on their own selective luxury items. This is simply and sadly a “fully-loaded” viewing stand for our selfish and self-important leadership.

Mayor Gray said that he expected the federal government would pick up the cost of the viewing stand but my question is “why?” I’m a big government lefty but why should the federal government reimburse the District for a viewing stand for the Mayor and Council members? That quite frankly is a luxury item that the federal government should not be on the hook for. Should the federal government reimburse us for police hours and other real costs that the District takes on to make the inauguration a success? Yes, of course but they shouldn’t reimburse us for matters related to the comfort, extravagance, and buffoonery of the District’s leadership.

And then there’s the “protest” message they were so coy about for several weeks that states “A More Perfect Union Must Include Democracy in D.C.” What public relations firm did they hire for this muddled mess? Too long and too vague and yet somehow fitting for the District’s leadership. This is the right time and right place for a clear and concise message of “Mr. President, We Want Statehood.” That would be more fitting and precise for the whole world to see. Back when the Mayor was Council Chair and running for mayor he used to say on the stump that he ‘didn’t want to talk about voting rights’ because it wasn’t clear and yet he’s cutting the check for a vague and wordy message that no one will know what our ultimate goal is.

It’s not too late however, the District can very easily print a “Mr. President, We Want Statehood” message for the viewing stand and then the entire world, including President Obama, will know what our ultimate goal is: STATEHOOD. It’s time to act responsibly and to speak clearly and unequivocally: Mr. President, We Want Statehood!

Josh Burch

Brookland, DC

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