We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.
“STATEHOOD MISMATCH” (“Loose Lips,” 11/19) was most amusing and appropriately titled. On one hand we have some activists with delusions of grandeur. On the other, we have much of the rest of the country which either does not give a damn about D.C. statehood or is fully prepared to crush it should it really go anywhere.
Let me remind statehood supporters of the hard realities they face:
1.) Clinton does not care enough to stick his neck out for this loser. Oh sure, he’ll give some vocal support, just like he did for the Haitian boat people before he was elected. When it was show time, however, and the political realities set in, it just became a non-issue. If Mark Thompson and others expect that Clinton should support D.C. statehood as he did NAFTA, they are doubly deluded. First—he’s just not going to, if for no other reason than—second—D.C. statehood is not only less important thanNAFTA to this country (and the world), it’s geometrically less important.
2.) If by a miracle of God statehood were to pass in Congress, the issue will be tied up in the courts for eternity. Current supporters will be dead and buried long before this turkey ever gets through, and it’s incredibly unlikely to happen anyway. Statehood supporters just can’t seem to accept the fact that statehood would violate terms of Maryland’s cession of District territory in 1791 as well as the 23rd Amendment, which established the current District government. Statehood supporters always blow this off, but we’ll see who gets blown away should the issue get to this arena.
3.) If by a miracle of God statehood were to pass Congress and pass the courts, other jurisdictions in the metropolitan area will unleash a massive economic assault on New Columbia. New Columbia would initiate a commuter tax, we all know that. We also know that Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia would retaliate with boycotts of various forms. Lorton inmates would be forced back where they belong. And most importantly, there would be aggressive and indeed ruthless actions to steal away businesses to the suburbs (considering that this action is already happening on its own, the effort would be easy and devastating). There would be so many attacks coming from every direction that pitiful New Columbia wouldn’t know whether to shit or go blind.
4.) Many tactics employed by statehood supporters are regarded as silly and annoying and generate scorn, not respect. People in the suburbs have been desensitized to the District’s never-ending cries about colonialism and racism for quite some time now. The attitude toward D.C. is increasingly one of ridicule. Events that statehood supporters look to as momentous are laughed at. Take the Thursday protests at the Capitol. Statehood supporter Bernard Demczuk says of them, “These people put their bodies on the line. So there had better not be a back-room deal cut.” On the line?! What risk are they taking prancing around in one of the most secure areas of the country? The average citizen takes more of a risk walking the streets on any given day than those clowns. Furthermore, the protesters want and fully expect to get no jail time for their actions. Real civil rights heroes like Martin Luther King expected and dealt with jail to prove the purity of their cause. These current people are nothing.
The typical response to these charges is usually, “Oh, just another case of District-bashing.” Hey folks, just remember: While you’re on your high horse and celebrating your architectural character and cultural diversity, the massive problems of the city continue to mount. Even if the overflow of people and business were to stop today (fat chance), financial projections indicate devastation in a few years. The tax base of the city is in a full-blown power-slide.
District residents should be spending their time, money, and energy on trying to bring business and people back, not crusading, complaining, and crying. Of course, this is not going to happen. So all I can say is, down the road in a couple years when this issue is dead and the financial mess is causing tremendous pain, take comfort in one thought: A little suffering is good for the soul—have fun.