I have just submitted the following Letter to the Editor to the Washington Post in response to a piece by Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) on D.C. voting rights. Holmes Norton is Washington, D.C.’s non-voting delegate to the House of Representatives.
Hopefully the Post will choose to publish it tomorrow. If they do, I’ll post a link.
I applaud Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton’s tireless devotion to the cause of D.C. voting rights. I believe, as she does, that the citizens of the District should have some form of representation in Congress (as, ultimately, should those from other U.S. territories like Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
In D.C.’s case, the most plausible way of doing this would be through retro-cession of most of the District to Maryland, following the pattern laid by the retro-cession of Arlington to Virginia in 1847. Then citizens of the District would enjoy the representation of Maryland’s two Senators and, after redistricting, one or more representatives in the House. Retro-cession, statehood, or a Constitutional amendment are the only three ways to give D.C. a vote that pass Constitutional muster.
I do, however, find it curious to read Del. Holmes Norton clamoring for ‘equal citizenship rights’ for the people of the District while, at the same time, defending D.C.’s unconstitutional and ineffective gun laws. The people of Washington, D.C. do indeed deserve equal citizenship rights—citizenship rights that include the right to keep and bear arms.
The gun amendment Holmes Norton speaks of would not have ‘proliferated guns through the city.’ Guns are prolific in Washington already, but only in the hands of criminals and the likes of Det. Mike ‘don’t bring a gun to a snowball fight’ Baylor. Responsible, law-abiding citizens, however, go unarmed and do not get to enjoy their ‘equal citizenship rights.’
I urge Del. Holmes Norton to keep up her fight for equal citizenship rights for the people of Washington, D.C., but I urge her to include both voting rights and the right to keep and bear arms under that heading. The people of the District deserve to have all of their civil liberties protected.