It’s About Democracy

Below is my testimony before a Joint “Roundtable” (it was a Hearing but due to fear of violating the Budget Act of 2015 the Council changed the title to Roundtable) about respecting the vote and will of District voters:

Joint Public Hearing on B21-023 & B21-025

2/9/15

Councilmembers,

I care very little about the bills before the Council today but I care deeply about democracy. I care deeply that my voice and my vote should be respected, honored, and have the same value of the votes of my family, friends, and neighbors in the 50 states. My two beautiful children deserve to be treated fairly and equally with children around this country. And yet what I care about and believe as it relates to fairness, equality, and basic tenets of democracy don’t apply to the District, the city where I was born and raised and where I am now raising a family.

Congress a “democratic” body where we are denied representation over and over again has imposed its will on the District and for too long we, the citizens and elected leaders, have capitulated.  The time for capitulation must end and the time for confrontation is upon us. We have no say in the laws Congress passes, we have no oversight over the judges they confirm, and a system that denies 660,000 tax paying Americans full and equal citizenship rights does not deserve our respect.

I urge you all to push this forward in confronting any and all riders that treat us differently than the 50 states. We must not just oppose one rider, we must oppose them all. We should openly and brazenly ignore all budget riders that Congress imposes upon us without our consent. Let’s force Congress’ hand and openly defy them. You all are simply doing your job. You are trying to develop a tax and regulatory system to best implement an initiative overwhelmingly passed by the citizens of the District. You all are being good stewards of District affairs and yet in this unjust system that we live under you could be breaking the law. I urge you to press forward and don’t back down.

I’m here today because I care about democracy. I believe that we deserve to be treated freely and fairly as the 51st state in the union.  We in the District, citizens and elected leaders, need to stand up and make sure that our votes, voice, and collective will are respected because if we never stand up for ourselves how can we ever expect Congress to one day stand up for us?

Joshua Burch

Brookland, Ward 5

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