Only Criminals and Perverts Oppose DC Statehood

Many great and terrible issues bedevil the world today.  Most of them are complicated affairs that pit deeply-held and competing, values against one another. If one considers something like the debate around abortion, there are almost as many positions as there are people.  Only the most committed hyper-partisans and true sociopaths will refuse to admit that there are legitimate concerns and arguments all over the spectrum on the issue of abortion.  How one feels about personal freedom, the sanctity of life, the role of the government, when life begins, women’s rights, family law, and on and on all inform on a complex, ever-shifting debate that will likely never be truly settled.  

Then there are absolute, one-sided, no-brainers.  Making DC the 51st state is one of those.  DC has more people in it than Wyoming or Vermont.  DC has been American from the beginning, making it arguably more deserving than the 37 states that came later.  It is compact, cohesive, and clearly delineated.  The residents of DC are American citizens who pay taxes, serve in the military, and sit on juries.  They honor every obligation that a citizen has and yet are denied one of our most sacred rights.

One non-voting member of congress, zero senators, and a mayor with no control of the local National Guard is an insulting, bizarre, consolation package given to what should be our most-diverse state.  I’m sure it is a coincidence that the only state that would be majority black is instead given the ol’ Separate but Equal treatment and then told to shut up and sit down.  

DC statehood would not only be doing the right thing for the 7/10th of a million citizens who live there, it would also benefit our democracy as a whole.  The Senate is grossly imbalanced.  It is almost completely white, rural, and male in a country that is increasingly not.  The San Francisco bay area has around six million people who all get to share a little of California’s two senators. Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and Idaho combined have about the same number of people as the Bay Area and get *twelve* senators.  It’s also getting worse.  After the next redistricting, less than 20% of the country will control a majority of the Senate.  Adding DC would not completely fix this problem but would be an excellent step in the right direction. 

Which brings us to the problem.  Though there is not a single, reasonable objection to DC statehood, the Republicans will fight it tooth and claw for the simple reason that they can only see the immediate, short-term, perceived loss.  They are plotting, right now, to use every maneuver imaginable to block President Biden’s agenda.  The simple goal, effectively realized under President Obama from 2009-2010, is to try to make everything fail.  If there is chaos, death, and inaction for two years then the GOP can run on “Look at how badly Democrats ran things!” in 2022.  It doesn’t matter if Biden proposed the absolute Republican fantasy wish list as an agenda, they would still feel compelled to condemn it and try to make it fail.  By far the easiest place for them to do this would be the Senate, the last great protector of reactionary plutocratic power. A handful of committed Republican Senators can raise objections, insert poison pills, filibuster everything, and if anything does get passed, ensure that it is so watered down and distorted to be completely dysfunctional.  To do this they need to threaten to filibuster everything, block what they can, distort and pervert what they can’t.  They need the filibuster and every inch of their minority to pull this off.  Two more black Democratic Senators from the new state of Colombia would snuff out this horrible and democracy-poisoning scheme.

We were going to have the showdown over the filibuster eventually, now we are simply going to have it first.  Expect to see all hell being raised in the Senate and on Fox News in the coming weeks.  There are no legit arguments against statehood, and I can’t even twist my mind enough to come up with any fake ones.  But they are going to try. They can’t very well stand up and say, “We can’t have any more coloreds running around the Senate!” (even if that has been their position for the past 100 years) so they will have to come up with something.  Maybe they’ll put it all on the cost of changing the flag?  I don’t know, but whatever they come up with, know that it is a lie.  They failed on November 3rd, 2020.  Then they spent two months trying to steal the election by any means necessary.  Then they failed again on January 6th invading the Capitol.  This is their last chance to stop health care, Covid relief, voting rights, and the Green New Deal.  This is their last chance to stop any meaningful reform and keep America broke, sick, divided, and angry… ready for another con man fascist to swoop in with promises to make things great again. 

This is it, the title fight.  If they can keep DC out and the Senate deadlocked, they will grab the momentum, and show up to work reborn as deficit hawks and parliamentarians.  Every single issue for the next two years will become the Battle of Stalingrad and nothing will get done.  Democrats will lose the House in 2022 and maybe the White House in 2024 on the completely unfair but true charge of having accomplished too little.  But if the GOP lose this fight and the Democrats have an almost-unthinkable two-vote margin in the Senate, then President Biden can at least attempt to fulfill his campaign promises.  He will succeed or fail on how well he met the challenges, not on who got blamed the most for nothing happening.  The GOP knows this is for all the cookies and they are suiting up.  Will the Democrats realize that in this one instance, winning is everything, or will they split-screen DC with impeachment, unity, and “good government”?

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