A strategy for statehood
By Mark Plotkin
Regarding the Aug. 1 Local Opinions letters, “D.C. voting rights: What now?”:
Let’s make it simple and straightforward: Let’s go for statehood for D.C. That’s what we really want, and it is doable. No other contrivance or permutation gives us the rights that every other American takes for granted — full voting representation in the House and the Senate.
To get there, there must be a change in citizen attitude. Years ago, I asked Jesse Jackson when “it would all change.” He eloquently said that our second-class status would change only “when it rises to the level of personal insult.”
That has not happened. Statehood cannot be done with a Republican-controlled House or Senate. There could be a sequence of events in which Puerto Rico and the District would come into the union at the same time. Republicans seem to want Puerto Rico to become a state; Democrats favor the District.
Failing that, every year our delegate must introduce a bill to make the District a state, and every year round up the votes. Every year the number will grow larger. The best model is the designation of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday. At first, very few signed on, but momentum grew. Republicans started joining. In the end, Ronald Reagan signed the bill.
That it will not be easy should not deter us. There really is no other way.
The writer is the political analyst for WTOP Radio.
| August 6, 2010; 7:16 PM ET
Categories: D.C., DC Vote, HotTopic
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