50 Years of “Democracy” in DC

March 29th, 2011

Inspired by the ratification 50 years ago today of the 23rd Amendment granting District citizens the right to vote in presidential elections. 


“I’m a soldier from DC.
I fought to bring others democracy.
I went to Iraq
But when I got back
I found it didn’t apply to me.” – Newsericks, DC Voting Rights

“[E]ven the relatively uncontroversial 23rd Amendment could not be ratified in most of the South. The only former Confederate state to ratify was Tennessee. In North Carolina, a segregationist organization called the amendment ‘another effort to strengthen the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.’ But numerous Republican-led state legislatures in the North readily ratified the amendment, showing that racial politics were far more important than partisanship in influencing ratification.” – New York Times article on the anniversary


Fifty years ago today

DC got the presidential vote we still have today

(But only because no one’s taken it away).


Our self-governance, in contrast, has come and gone:

DC recently lost what little we’d previously won

(Repub retrenchment is one thing we can depend on).


Even our hard-won presidential vote

Racial politics did denote

(See for example the above quote).


The Segregationist South resisted–

“Another effort to strengthen the NAACP,” they insisted.

(Pretty twisted.)


For fifty years, right-wingers have ridden the stalking horse of race.

That it still continues today is a disgrace,

Especially in this place.


After all, DC is the capital of our democracy

And shouldn’t be such a blatant example of hypocrisy,

But it will be until we overthrow the Southern Aristocracy.

***

Read Capital Injustice (Kate Masur, New York Times 3/28/11) for more information on the unfortunate (and in large part racially-inspired) lack of local democracy in DC.

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