Elizabeth Palmberg, assistant editor of Sojourners, thinks she has caught the Tea Party movement in an embarrassing faux pas. She writes:
Well, it looks like some folks are coming to the District of Columbia this April 15 to protest under the “tea party” banner. Unless they are coming to express their love for Oolong, I guess they are opposed to “taxation without representation” — but, apparently, these folks are blind to the irony that the District, home to over half a million Americans, has been without voting representation in Congress for over 200 years. (Thanks to Sojo’s own Rev. Jen Kottler for pointing out this irony in the current issue of Sojourners).
Wouldn’t it be nice if the mainstream news media called the tea party on this?…
Ask them, in any stories about “tea party” demonstrations this April 15, to ask the tea party folk if they support voting rights for DC – and, if not, what part of “taxation without representation” they don’t understand.
She shoots, she misses…it’s an air ball!
So here’s the deal, Elizabeth: the Tea Party people aren’t protesting “taxation without representation,” they are protesting atrocious representation that is taxing the life out of the economy (which is to say, out of the private sector that is the best hope for all those poor people that Sojourners is supposedly so concerned about). The issue of DC voting rights has never been addressed by any Tea Party rally or leader that I know of, and there’s a good reason for it–and no, it isn’t racism.
See, Elizabeth, the District is mandated as a government reserve, outside of the federal system of states, by the Constitution, which does not mandate that anyone actually live there. Every single citizen of the District lives there by choice, knowing that they do not have voting representation in Congress. In fact, there’s really no need for most of the city of Washington to be part of the District; it could just as easily be absorbed into Maryland (just as 39 square miles on the south side of the Potomac, encompassing the city of Alexandria, was ceded back to Virginia in 1846). Such a solution has been proposed in Congress, and always opposed by the District’s political leadership and Democrats, who know that there’s no great gain for their party to be found in such a course (since Maryland is already heavily Democratic, there would be no gain in Senators, particularly). So you see, Elizabeth, long before there was a Tea Party, Democrats and liberals have opposed granting representation to the residents of the District unless there was political advantage to them in it.
Say, you know what occurs to me? Democrats currently have a big majority in both houses of Congress and control the White House. Maybe you should bring the matter up with them? After all, you’re a member of the media, aren’t you?