Since the 1970s, various movements to admit the District of Columbia as a new state to the Union have fallen flat. Continually, the city’s non-voting representative in the House of Representatives has introduced legislation that would start the process of statehood for D.C. In the modern era, the push for statehood may finally be successful.
Washington D.C. has nearly 700,000 people living there and has no voting power in Congress. That’s right. An area of the country that has more people than two of its states (Vermont and Wyoming) has no voting power in the United States Congress. The city currently has one non-voting delegate in the House of Representatives. Her name is Eleanor Holmes Norton and she has been re-elected as the district’s delegate since 1990. Every term of the Congress since her election she has introduced legislation to admit D.C. into the Union. She almost always gets shot down. However, the recent political climate has created a desire to admit the District of Columbia. The recent momentum started last year but was only accelerated by the bureaucratic nightmare caused by the jurisdiction of D.C. when the Jan. 6 Insurrection took place. D.C. did not have the authority to call in National Guard troops to help quell the violence because only the President can call in the National Guard to D.C. This would not happen if D.C. were a state with its own National Guard.
There are some who argue completely against the admission of D.C. as a state. Most of these reasons are completely arbitrary. The United States Constitution administers the existence of the District in the first place, but some critics of D.C. statehood say that the Constitution forbids its admission. This is just plain false. Current proposals for D.C. statehood would alter the current composition of the District. It would shrink the current borders of D.C. as we know it to contain only the Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, and other governmental buildings such as cabinet buildings and monuments. This would avoid the need for a Constitutional amendment because the issue was with the language “not exceeding ten miles.” It says nothing of a minimum size for D.C. The city proper of D.C. would no longer be called the District of Columbia but instead would be renamed the Washington Douglas Commonwealth, still retaining the D.C. designation by this name.
If we as a country truly believe in democracy, then D.C. statehood should be a no-brainer. Would D.C.’s statehood upset the balance of power in the United States Senate? Absolutely. That shouldn’t even be a consideration within in the D.C. statehood conversation. Our American philosophy of democracy and freedom should be reason alone to grant the citizens of D.C, nearly as many people as Alaska, voting representation in Congress. Republicans are often complaining about being silenced while they fight to silence the voting voice of nearly 700,000 people in the District of Columbia. The Democrat-controlled Congress must rectify this massive flaw in the promise of our nation.