D.C.’s Muddled Message to the World
D.C. voting rights advocates often bemoan the fact that few people in the rest of the country know that the District doesn't have a voting member in Congress and can't spend its own money without congressional approval. If only they knew! the thinking goes, D.C. would have statehood, or at least something more than it has now.
Any attention to the District's lack of representation in the country's legislature is welcome news: witness the joy that greeted President Barack Obama's decision to put the District's "Taxation Without Representation" license plates on his car. It's also why the message the city chooses to put outside the Wilson Building on Inauguration Day is kind of a big deal. As the president makes his way down Pennsylvania Avenue, the city has a chance to let more people know that their capital city is getting a raw deal; the Wilson Building occupies prime real estate and lots of camera angles.
So what does the District come up with? This message, attached to the front of a reviewing stand constructed for the parade (which reportedly cost $342,000): "A More Perfect Union Must Include Full Democracy in DC."
Yikes. Full democracy? Sounds nice, but what is it, exactly? Did the committee that came up with the truncated "drum major for peace" quote on the MLK Jr. Memorial come up with that line?
If even a single person unfamiliar with the District's lack of voting rights gains a sudden understanding because of that banner, LL's boss will get that whole phrase tattooed on his forearm. Promise.
Photo via @mayorvincegray