Statehood for District of Columbia Is a VERY Bad Idea
Prior to the Civil War, the issue of adding new states to the Union was hung up on the slavery issue. At the time, the United States held a lot of real estate west of the Mississippi River (territories) that needed to be subdivided into states. There was also the issue of admitting Cuba as one of the United States.
Congress faced the problem of not being able to add a free-state without adding a slave-state. That is how we lost Cuba.
The Missouri Compromise of 1820 enabled Missouri to join the Union as a slave state, but only if Maine was admitted as a free state. The issue came to a head with the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act nullifying the Missouri Compromise and allowing slavery in the new territories. And so the Civil War was on.
With slavery no longer an issue, the process of adding states moved forward. But divided opinion still played a role in the admission of Alaska and Hawaii in 1959. This time it was the partisan divide. Alaska was admitted as a predominantly Republican state. Hawaii was let in as a more Democrat state.
The United States still holds geography that could be granted statehood status – most notably Puerto Rico. The District of Columbia is a whole different issue, however.
Democrats say that giving the District statehood would provide the residents with the full benefits of citizenship.
They resurrect the old cry, “taxation without representation.” That all sounds good. But they already have such benefits. It can even be fairly argued that they have more benefits than the folks living in the 50 states.
In 1961, the Twenty-Third Amendment to the Constitution was enacted. This allows residents of the District to vote in presidential elections – sending delegates to the Electoral College. In 1973, the Home Rule Act was passed to enable residents to elect their own municipal officials.
Thanks to reforms in the mid-Twentieth Century, the people of the District now elect their own representative in Congress. While that representative does not vote, he or she can participate in committee deliberations – and represent the interests of the people of the District just as others represent their districts back home.
The people of the District have an advantage over others. They essentially have more than just one representative in Congress. They have an entire committee of Congress to solely address the concerns of the people living in the District. And they have an advantage in obtaining funding from the federal government. These defy the suggestion that the people of the District are suffering from “taxation without representation.”
At approximately ten square miles, the District would be the tiniest state in the Union – essentially a city- state – and a very tiny city-state. More importantly, turning the District into a state would put the entire federal government under the jurisdiction of one state – exactly what the Founders wisely wanted to avoid.
As a state, the District would have an entirely new third level of government – state government. In other words, those same ten tiny square miles would be ruled over by a city, state and federal governments.
Then there is the question as to whether the District can be converted to a state.
The original land for the District was provided by both Virginia and Maryland. The land that was originally donated by Virginia – Alexandria — was given back in what was called retrocession. All the land that now composes the District was the land donated by Maryland. Based on the Virginia precedent, many historians and constitutional scholars believe that IF the federal government wishes to end the District status, the land must revert to Maryland – as was the land donated by Virginia.
An alternative to statehood that does not get a lot of media attention is retroceding most of the residential portion of the District to Maryland and maintain a smaller federal District.
Democrat attempts to convert the District to a city-state show an utter contempt for the tradition and rationale behind the creation of the District. They are not interested in the affairs of the people of the District. They simply want to tighten their grip on permanent empowerment by capriciously adding more Democrat members to the Congress.
In every way, converting the District of Colombia is a VERY bad idea founded on nothing more than political avarice.
So, there ‘tis.