“Oh can’t you see, you belong to me.” — Gordon Sumner
Most of you know Sumner by a different name. There are those that consider this song one of the more romantic songs in history. I worry about them. I worry if they believe in the same type of ownership that the subject of this song does. More than anything, I wonder if Democrats and Republicans think of their voters the same way.
Check that, I really don’t wonder about Republicans. As vile as many of them are, at least they don’t try to hide it anymore. Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to make Washington D.C. a state. The GOP response was equal kinds predictable and indicative of where they are as a party.
To be perfectly fair, the Democrats know how to read numbers just as easily. Over 90 percent of residents voted for Joe Biden in the last election. The district has been Democratic for years. So, one could forgive the Democratically controlled House for having a sense of urgency here.
Then again, we must remember not to count our chickens before they hatch. Just because someone votes Democratic now doesn’t mean they will always vote Democratic. The South used to be in the bag for Democrats up until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When you move past regional patterns you will find all kinds of demographic groups where the battle still wages.
Yet, that’s the mindset of the modern Republican party. They don’t believe in competing for votes. They don’t believe in competing in the marketplace of ideas. Their voters belong to them and not the other way around. Republican representatives accused Democrats of a partisan grab as if that has any bearing on whether the district deserves to be its own state.
Even if the barbs are true, that’s not the point. The point is you have a group of people (Puerto Rico as well) that do not have adequate representation. They have more people in DC than several states already admitted to the union. If we are going to fly down the “why should they be a state” rabbit hole we would immediately ask ourselves why we need two Dakotas, Wyoming, and Idaho.
It’s really a simple proposition. The answer is two-fold. First, our system has always been skewed towards land. In the beginning, you could only vote if you owned land. From there, we attempted to balance the needs and desires of small states with bigger states. They did this by giving Wyoming the same number of senators as California. Seems perfectly fair and reasonable when you think about it.
The second proposition is that those states have the right voters. That’s why a 50/50 split Senate sees Democrats represent 41 million more people. Instead of battling in the marketplace of ideas we are trying to kidnap our own voters and keep everyone else on the outside looking in. So, voices on the floor complained about a socialist agenda and a sinister plot to get it through. Let’s ignore that if there was such a thing, that thing is highly popular amongst those surveyed.
The movement in state legislatures is proof that they aren’t trying to convince people that their ideas are better. They are trying to limit the number of people that could possibly choose that agenda. That’s not sufficient enough reason to deny the people of DC statehood. The same goes for Puerto Rico as well.