Capital in the Capitol

Last month, I took a trip out to Washington, D.C. It was fun though brief, but at least I got to see some of the area. I must admit some of the stuff threw me for a loop. Instead of high school football practice, I saw lacrosse practice. Instead of enforced zoning, I saw a mix of commercial and residential. The iced tea was unsweetened.


Anyway, I did notice something that struck me as a bit odd.


You read that right: taxation without representation. Now, some of us who are A) aware of how History works, and 2) refuse to revise it understand why Washington, D.C. operates differently than the rest of the country. Firstly, DC is a federal district under the control of Congress, not a state. Secondly, representation is limited to a voice delegate in the House, but none in the Senate (for obvious reasons). Thirdly, though part of the land was ceded back to Virginia in 1847, the rest of it has not been ceded to Maryland. DC has a duly elected mayor and council, however. There have been many attempts to rectify the representation issue, but all have stagnated or met with little success. One of the more successful was the compromise on the 23rd Amendment that allowed for three electoral votes in presidential elections. After all the failed proposals and bills and petitions, it boils down to the fact that it is NOT a state and can’t be treated as such.

It has been argued that the best way to remedy the situation is to cede back to Maryland through retrocession. That way, residents would enjoy representation and all that that implies. Of course, the rumor goes that Maryland does NOT want the land ceded back, because with it come the headaches of representation. Most “experts” agree the only solution is through a Constitutional amendment, since the 23rd Amendment exists to give some representation and would have to be superseded. Another option is to make DC a state in itself, but that would violate the District Clause. In short, part of DC would have to remain a Federal District, and no one knows where to draw that line.

Frankly, I think the whole situation is not just bizarre, but also myopic. For one thing, though the residents of DC pay federal taxes, those taxes go to the city itself, to include maintenance of the national parks (which include the monuments and memorials), roads, public transit, etc., since it is a federal district and not a state that can generate its own revenue. For another, they do choose their city representation and can decide on city issues. And the biggest issue? Voting is not a right. It is a privilege. If you wish to exercise the privilege, move out of DC. No one is forcing you to live there. With all the public transportation around the area, commuting is not an issue. Well, unless Metro is on fire or there’s a shooting. But that is rare…ish. Vice President Biden had no issues taking the Metro into DC when he was a Senator. If you choose to live in DC, you must be willing to compromise and deal with the perks and the drawbacks of a federal district.

This isn’t Burger Kingβ„’, and you can’t have it your way without a Constitutional amendment.

LC Aggie Sith


  1. . . .move out of DC. No one is forcing you to live there.

    Perfect answer.

    Ideally, the plan should have been to make DC a non-residence area. Any housing that is in DC proper can be used as temporary billeting housing for visiting dignitaries and staff, and TDY housing for military/Federal law enforcement. Treat it like a military housing area, ID needed to get in/stay ‘on base.’ Leave the rest of DC (the federal government/commercial areas) as is, and work out the bugs as they appear.

  2. So their plates actually say this? This is so rich, coming from a place that benefits so much from this taxation, that pumps revenue from everywhere all over the country into DC, where much of it settles as infrastructure improvement and expansion, not to mention federal job openings.

    As Congress oversees this district, I am surprised that they let them do this. Oh, wait, I’m actually not. This sentiment is precisely the Obama Administration sentiment, and heaven forbid the Congressional Republican leadership stand in Barry’s way on anything……

    But overall, the thing that must be remembered is that above all else, this license plate protest statement hasn’t got anything to do with being upset over taxation. Rather, it’s just simply upset over the lack of the right type of representation. All this is about now, and all it has ever been about is that they want one more (D) Congressman and two more (D) Senators. Period. The fact that those three shiny new (D) votes would vote ~95% or more of the time to increase taxes at each opportunity that they don’t have any concerns over “taxation.”

  3. These things tend to smooth themselves out when SHTF. Until that time I expect we’ll see many many shenanigans.

  4. Many years ago, perhaps 20, I asked my Congresscritter about this. He was in favor of the (then) proposed new State of Colombia. So I sked him: “What portions of the Code of Federal Regulations and/or the U.S. Code would have to be repealed or superceded to allow the proposed new state to promulgate its own state law. Specifically, which titles of the CFR, or portions thereof are federal in scope and which are municipal.” Every now and again, you can still hear the crickets chirping.
    Imagine if title 26 had to be repealed so the new state could promulgate new state law. Then you will begin to realize the district was drawn like this for a reason. It’s just like “The City of London” only different. I recently went down that wormhole and it makes Hillary’s foundation look like child’s play.

    But I can say no more. Chatham House rules, you know.

  5. I’ve been in the northern-VA/MD area for almost 30 years, so I’m very familiar with these plates. And still, every time I see them, I think, “What whiny little ignorant bitches you are.” It baffles me that this is the official, default plate of the district.

    • Yaknow, RedSweater, you just swerved into a good point. If the whiny little bitches had a pair, they would forego plates altogether. That would be a great protest. No license plates on cars registered in the District. Other jurisdictions wouldn’t like it, but it is a great protest. It’s not like they need the revenue… they get all theirs from the federal teet. Imagine the residents of the other jurisdictions complaining and trying to register in the District. Hilarity would ensue.

  6. Aggs, what were you doing in DC?

    Hopefully you hit the Spy Museum. 😈

  7. I just returned from a travel tour, and two of the others in the tour group were lawyers from DC, one of whom was vehement about this issue. He dismissed the argument that the Constitution gives states the right to determine voter eligibility, and that DC wasn’t and couldn’t be a state. He felt DC *should* be the equivalent, and also wasn’t impressed when I pointed out that Congress wouldn’t want to give the DC city government authority over federal facilities in DC.

    After that, he said he didn’t want to talk about it anymore.

    • Amazing how quick they are to shut off an argument, huh? And welcome to H&B πŸ™‚

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