Thursday, March 22, 2007

Taxation without...wait, what?

So the Senate today voted to indefinitely curtail the the District's desire to have an actual vote in Congress. Poor Eleanor. It seems she is not fated to see her star rise on CSPAN, but remains relegated to the Congressional equivalent of the 'back of the bus'; that is, committee comments only.

I remember as a kid, hearing about the push for DC to have voting rights in Congress. I remember thinking it was kind of silly - I mean, why would we want to upset this perfect balance of 50 states that we have?? And if DC had a vote, that would mean, constitutionally speaking, that it was a state, right?

But since moving here, since seeing all the tourists and commuters and shit that gets left behind when NOVA's (that's Northern Virginian's to you plebe's) evacuate at the end of the workday, my sympathies have changed. The District is our National Capital. Home to the Constitution, monument to Americana, bloomer of fresh cherry blossoms. Why wouldn't we want her to have a say in how America is run? Isn't that, well, kind of anti-American?

I understand from NPR that some deal was in the works to give DC, which is like 98% rabid democrat a vote and also provide Utah (Utah?) another massively Republican vote.

I didn't follow up too closely today on how this deal fell through, but it did raise an interesting point. Statistically, urban areas are almost always voting for the Dems (MN is a great example of this) while rural areas fall on the Repub side. I like to think this is because, living on top of each other in sardine cans, people in urban areas deal with dirty old humanity on a day to day basis and learn to basically get along with others. It's hard to ignore poverty when you see a homeless person every day.

In rural areas, it's easy to forget that you're not the only lunatic on earth and that other humans exist (and coexist) without relying solely on their own resources (read: nuclear safe bunker and AK47). But it also teaches you responsibility, because hey, no one ELSE is going to shovel the walk for you, but it still needs to get done.

Having straddled the fence between the two, I can honestly see the pros and cons of each. Intellectually, I understand why the deal would've been struck between Utah and DC and I'm sorry that it didn't work out.

Well, kind of.

I'm not sorry that Utah doesn't have another vote, a deal I saw as caused by some frightened Republicans worried about a 2006 election repeat.

I AM sorry that DC still remains this psuedo-state of 500,000 fresh faced interns without so much as a whisper of control over their neighborhoods, their communities and their cities without needing - literally - an act of Congress.

1 comment:

nate-nate-bo-bate said...

I was actually discussing this with my wife the other night and we both very much agree that DC needs representation. If they weren't going to take one from Utah, they very well could have grabbed one from Wyoming or some other state with a stable or even declining population (hi there, South Dakota).

But as for the urban dems and rural reps, I do feel the need to point out that all of North Dakotas representatives in both houses of congress are democrats. Kent Conrad, Byron Dorgan and Earl Pomeroy, even though their governor is a Republican and the state usually goes red for presidential elections. Country folk in good ol Nort' Dakota like their democrats just as much, if not more, than their republicans.

So, while on the whole, what you said is true, there is still hope in North Dakota, of all places, that people can see it fit to elect whomever they feel best suits their interests, no matter what side of the aisle they reside. Maybe some other states could take an example from this when electing their senators and representatives.