“We hope that some members of Congress’s new “Tea Party Caucus” can make it down to the fireworks Monday night. It might be a good time to reflect on the primary motivation for the original Boston Tea Party, which was that Americans should not be taxed by a government in which they had no parliamentary representation. That right to a voting representative is still denied to all who live in the nation’s capital, and some of them must be wondering why members of Congress who so revere the Founders haven’t done something about it.”
—The Washington Post editorial board, in a “footnote” to its editorial about the enduring importance of the Declaration of Independence.
Little more needs to be said. The fact that the citizens of the District of Columbia, who number more than the populations of several states, are unrepresented in the House and the Senate is beyond disgraceful. Yes, there are troublesome issues to be worked out. It is also clear that if the either political party placed a higher priority on fairness and self-government than it did on political considerations, the problem would have been settled by now—after all, the District has been without representation for more than 200 years.
Most of the blame, however, goes to the Republicans, who have been obstructing D.C. representation for the most naked of self-serving motives: it is a predominantly African American, knee-jerk liberal city, and would surely contribute two Senators and one Representative to the Democratic cause. (This is also an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the memory of how the GOP blocked its citizens from the most basic American right will and should keep the District deep blue until the stars turn cold.)
Well, too bad: the fact that most DC residents are Democrats is no excuse for keeping them from meaningful participation in national lawmaking. The Post is exactly right: if the Tea Party has integrity and is true to its principles, it will firmly endorse representation for the District of Columbia. This would also have the beneficial side effect of ending the liberal trope that the Tea Party is racist at its core. The main reason for doing it, however, could be more obvious. It is the right thing to do, and overdue as well.