One of the biggest inherent injustices in our government system is that there is no democracy for the people living in the capital of the country which is called the leader of the free world. The problem is not simply that the people of Washington DC are denied any representation in Congress. The even larger problem is that the local government duly elected by the people of the DC lacks sovereignty. Even though DC has no votes in Congress, it technically holds the ultimate authority over setting the laws for residents of the city.
Congressional Republicans often abuse this power to run social experiments on the mostly African-American and Democratic population by forcing them to live under unwanted laws. The latest example is a push to ban abortions in the city after 20 weeks. From the Washington Post:
A bill that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy will get its first hearing in the House.
The bill, being heard Thursday, is based on the disputed claim that fetuses can feel pain at a gestational age of 20 weeks or older. Six states have passed similar legislation.
The bill is the top priority of the National Right to Life Committee, an anti-abortion group. The group says abortion laws in the nation’s capital are unusually lenient.
While this bill is unlikely to pass at this session, it is very likely similar laws will be put in place if Republicans win control of the federal government. On a range of issue including medical marijuana, HIV prevention, charter schools, and abortion funding Congressional Republicans have proven they will happily abuse their undemocratic power over the District.
Short of a constitutional amendment, the only way this injustice will be permanently fixed is by granting statehood to the populated parts of the Washington DC.
For reasons of basic fairness, equality, solidarity, and even raw political advantage DC statehood should be a top goal of the national Democratic Party. Yet congressional Democrats, despite recently having the opportunity to correct this injustice, have done nothing really to advance the issue.