For more than 200 years, the people of the District of Columbia have been denied their basic civil rights. Today, the 681,170+ loyal citizens of the District, who have been part of America since America began, have no voting representation in either the United States House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. In addition, they have only limited Home Rule, lacking final control of their local taxes and legal system. Even though they pay the highest per capita federal taxes in the nation and serve our country valiantly in the military at higher than the national average, Washingtonians are deprived of many of the rights Thomas Jefferson said “were endowed by our creator…” and that every other American enjoys.
We are the only democracy in the world that denies equal rights to the citizens who live in its capital city. It’s time that we resolve this political anachronism and make the people of our nation’s capital equal citizens of our great democracy through statehood. The people of the District of Columbia are loyal Americans who have a distinguished record of service to the nation. More than 200,000 DC residents have served our country during wartime. And 2,000 of these brave men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our freedom. The District is proud to claim 39 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor – including Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, who either wrote or re-wrote a popular bugle call for burials, called Taps.
The history of the District of Columbia is the history of America. Our DC National Guard was founded by Thomas Jefferson. On a mission for his DC Guard unit, a young lieutenant named Francis Scott Key was captured and held prisoner on a ship in Baltimore Harbor where he wrote our National Anthem.
Today, DC residents have no voice in the country that they helped build. They are excluded from our national dialog and worse yet, are denied the equality that is a prerequisite of our democracy. The only way to give the people of DC back their rights is through statehood. It’s that simple. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided the landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education, that separate but equal violated the constitutional principles of our great nation. In order to be equal in the United States, you need to reside in a state. Anything less is less.