UNCONSTITUTIONAL, BUT THAT’S NOT STOPPING CONGRESS
My first inclination as a patriotic student of history and civics was to present the not-as-obvious-as-it-should-be argument that our national capital is a federal district under the U.S. Constitution, Article One, Section 8, as further elucidated by James Madison in The Federalist Papers, Number 43, in 1788. But, members of Congress, along with the Attorneys General of at least 21 states [of course not including Hawaii], have already pointed that out.
The problem is that the sponsors of H.R. 51 of the 117th Congress really don’t bother over small technicalities such as unconstitutionality. Nor do the 216 elected Representatives of the people in the House of Representatives who voted to pass it and transmitted it on to the Senate on April 22nd. In an equally-divided Senate, a party-line vote would result in VP Harris being a tiebreaker to pass the legislation on for putative President Biden’s rubber stamp.
Then SCOTUS, which recently demonstrated incredible chutzpah in declining to hear election challenges until after Inauguration Day and then subsequently declaring them as moot, could have another fun time deciding how to kick the can down the road and refuse to rule DC Statehood unconstitutional. The 23rd Amendment specifically gave residents of the federal district the ability to vote for president by bestowing upon them electors, but neither established statehood nor provided senators nor a voting representative.
IF A TREE FALLS IN THE FOREST
You know that one. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? If the Congress and the President pass an unconstitutional law, but the Supreme Court refuses to act, for whom does the bell toll? But this one isn’t an unanswerable hypothetical or one relating to the definition of sound. This is a very distinct possibility, if not probability.
WHY DC? Sub Heading
A new state of “Washington Douglass Commonwealth”? No, not District of Columbia, but named after Frederick Douglass the abolitionist apparently. No, of course, the capital wouldn’t be Olympia, in that other state of Washington, a mere 2,799 miles away.
They’ll probably at least let the White House and Capitol Hill and the Supreme Court remain part of a shrunken Federal District. Of course, that means if Biden or Harris is living in the White House, (s)he won’t be able to vote because the 23rd Amendment would no longer cover them, because it applied to Washington DC which was then all a Federal District but that has since become a state. Is this getting complicated? Heck, don’t expect Congress to fret over annoying little details like that.
SO, WHAT IS THIS REALLY ALL ABOUT ANYWAY?
Do all these Democrats, including our benighted Representatives and Senators way out here in Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, really give a hoot and a holler about their neighbors in the ghetto of Northeast DC? If they wouldn’t hear the tree that fell in the forest, they wouldn’t witness the murder in DC either, because they weren’t there when it happened.
I actually worked in our nation’s capital for almost three years from 1989-’91. I lived out in Fairfax County, Virginia and did a trimodal commute by car, bus and Orange Line Metro into Federal Triangle. We got there on a Friday the 13th of January and I didn’t have to go to work until Monday, so we drove into the district. From the top of the Washington Monument, I saw RFK Stadium and decided to try to drive over there and see it up close and got lost.
I never heard before then that DC is very different when you get away from the governmental area. That’s why tour guides tell you if you drive Highway 50 all the way from Sacramento, California to Ocean City, Maryland, skip the part that goes through Washington DC which isn’t really marked on street signs anyway, and just take the Beltway around instead.
Yeah, it’s really that bad. If you’re outside in the daytime on the Washington Mall, you might be okay. But when the sun goes down or if you get a few blocks away, take the Marines with you. But of course that’s where all the members of Congress live, right? If you believe that one, I’ve got a bridge to sell you. Some may live in Georgetown or near the Capitol, but many live out in Maryland or Virginia. Joe Biden used to commute by train all the way from Delaware, I understand. No, folks, they don’t really want to live in DC.
But, they obviously spend all their time when they’re not in session hanging around Washington DC, right? Oh, come on, be serious! Some might take in all the historic sites from the Smithsonian to the National Archives and so on. They might go to an expensive restaurant in Georgetown perhaps. But mingle with the people that they’re making a big issue about trying to help right now by making DC a state? No way, José!
RACISM, DEMOGRAPHICS AND DEMOCRATS
While right now there is such a show of declaring a rising trend of anti-Asian hate crimes, it is first of all contrary to reality. You can read my previous article on that here.
But, even our two Senators from Hawaii, Brian Schatz and Mazie Hirono, and two Representatives Ed Case and Kai Kahele, are not leading an effort to extend statehood to U.S. territories in the Pacific. Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands [CNMI] are in Micronesia in the Far Western Pacific. American Samoa is south of the Equator in Polynesia. You can see my article about understanding Pacific geography here.
Then, of course there are Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. In round figures, the population of Puerto Rico is a bit over 3 million whereas as the COMBINED population of the other territories mentioned is under 400,000. Hey, that’s a lot of Democrat votes, isn’t it? Oh, wait a minute, isn’t DC the one reliable blue dot on the electoral map every four years as well? Even in 1984, Ronald Reagan carried 49 states except Mondale’s home state of Minnesota and, you guessed it, Washington DC.
THERE YOU HAVE IT, FOLKS
They don’t care about constitutionality or lack thereof. They don’t care about the disenfranchisement of voters of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry in the Pacific who cannot even vote for president despite being U.S. citizens. Oh, sure, if you’re from any of the Pacific territories, or even our former territories that are now independent nations [Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and Republic of the Marshall Islands] you’re welcome to join the United States military and put your life on the line to defend this country. But if you live in a current U.S. territory, you still cannot vote to elect your Commander-in-Chief.
But, hey, if you live in the American heartland, they are going to gaslight you into thinking that if you don’t support DC statehood, that you, rather than they, are the racist. Somehow, I still trust James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay who wrote The Federalist Papers and who helped found our country and provide us with our Constitution and unique system of government. If you would rather put your trust in Pelosi and Schumer, just admit that it was political correctness and expediency, rather than historical scholarship and patriotism, that led to your decision.
HAWAII’S HYPOCRITES ON THE HILL
I have mentioned it before, but it was Democrat President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who issued Executive Order 9066 in 1942 sending loyal, patriotic Americans of Japanese Ancestry to internment camps based on nothing other than the fact that they were Asian. So don’t fall for this charade now, about how today’s Democrats are just seeking racial equality and justice for the residents of our nation’s capital.
Know that those who court Puerto Rico are not doing so out of respect for their Hispanic heritage either. Ferdinand Magellan arrived in Guam and the Marianas 500 years ago this year before his ultimate demise in the archipelago known as the Philippines.
When’s the last time you heard somebody actively promoting statehood for Guam and CNMI? Let’s do that now, because it would be totally constitutional whereas turning our federal district national capital into a state would not. American Samoans are even just considered as American Nationals rather than Citizens, so they can’t even vote or run for office if they move to Hawaii or another state. A Republican candidate for state legislature here in Hawaii was disqualified on that very count just a few years ago.
SO PUT UP OR SHUT UP
The four demagogues in Hawaii’s Congressional Delegation need to be responsive to the people of the 50th State and our good neighbors throughout Micronesia, Polynesia and Melanesia. DC statehood is nothing but a prop for you! You are just drooling at the thought of two more Democrat Senators for a total of 102.
The people of Washington DC deserve better. Quit neglecting the people in your own backyard at Capitol Hill until you just need their votes. Likewise, quit neglecting the people in your own backyard here in Hawaii just because they don’t have any political clout.
TO THE REST OF OUR COUNTRY
I know a heck of a lot more about American territories than the overwhelming majority of people in Washington DC. I had the privilege and honor to spend many years working directly with them in two multinational projects for U.S. Customs here in the Pacific Basin. I also worked in Washington DC and was saddened to see people sleeping on the hot air grates leading to the Metro at Federal Triangle every winter.
Washington DC is a federal district, not a territory. It would take a constitutional amendment to provide statehood contrary to the expressed wishes of our Founders. But after the original 13 States, territory after territory joined the Union as States. If, you don’t understand that, and you’re a member of Congress, do us all a favor, and get a new job. Those of you on the mainland can contact your U.S. Senators to vote against this DC statehood bill. It really should not be a partisan issue. But, of course, everything inside the DC Beltway is political, isn’t it?
MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Just don’t try to gaslight us about racism when you are the one who should be looking in the mirror. We remember the names of Madison, Hamilton, and Jay nearly two and a half centuries later. At the rate you’re going, yours will be forgotten tomorrow because you did nothing worthwhile and damaged America in the process.