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In a few hours, Councilmember Michael Brown will hold a roundtable on whether we should rename a small stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue to raise awareness of D.C.’s disenfranchisement. I think this is a fantastic idea, and bossman Michael Schaffer has some thoughts on how it might be done. But why stop there? The Republicans may still veto our laws and perpetuate our votelessness, and President Barack Obama may still not put the Taxation Without Representation license plates on his motorcade, but District residents (largely) control their physical environment. They’ve tightened the screws by taking away Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton‘s symbolic vote—now it’s time for retaliation. A few more ways D.C. officials could use public space to remind everyone we’re still second-class citizens:
- Affix “Abandon your vote, all ye who enter here!” to the signs at the edges of the city welcoming people to the District.
- Paint “Paid for by the disenfranchised” on prominent streets around the Capitol.
- Commission sculptures prominently featuring shackled D.C. residents for placement on District-owned land downtown.
- Hang District flags from bridges at rush hour. Maybe even burning. Or create a “Gates“-style installation of D.C. flags in the Arboretum.
- During tax season, print D.C. income tax bills with the message, “Hate paying federal income taxes too? At least you can vote on how these are used.”
- On directional signs downtown that tell people where things are, include an arrow pointing to “Federal Oppressors” at the Capitol building.
- Do flower plantings that spell out “Flowers are Beautiful. So is Democracy.”
Got more ideas? Tell us, and we’ll send them to Councilmember Brown.