Tag Archives: democracy
The Senate approved the District of Columbia House Voting Rights Act (S. 160) last Thursday, by a 61-37 vote. If the bill becomes law, it will grant the District of Columbia one voting representative in the House of Representatives and one additional representative to Utah.Â The bill is a political compromise that balances the heavily-Democratic District’s seat and with one for Republican-leaning Utah. Currently, the District of Columbia – the so-called “capital of the free world” – is denied representation in Congress.
Unfortunately, an amendment proposed by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) to weaken the District’s gun control laws was added to the legislation on the Senate floor.Â The amendment would legalize semi-automatic weapons and high-powered assault rifles in the city.Â It would overturn the District’s current gun control laws, which were enacted by the city’s democratically-elected legislature and enjoy widespread support in the city.Â Supporters of the amendment argue that citizens need guns to defend themselves in their homes.Â Semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines, however, are certainly not necessary for self-protection and legalizing them will only undercut law enforcement efforts in the District and potentially endanger the city’s residents, as well as its brave and dedicated police officers.
Thursday’s Senate vote was a significant step towards granting American citizens living in the District of Columbia the same democratic rights as citizens living elsewhere in the country.Â The House will likely take up consideration of its version of the bill sometime this week.Â It will probably pass the bill without the gun amendment, leaving open the possibility that the gun amendment could be dropped in conference committee.Â President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.
Our democratic BFF in Asia, India, has finally announced the polling dates for the country’s upcoming elections: April 16, April 23, April 30, May 7, and May 13. Why the phased election? Holidays, festivals, possible monsoon weather, harvest season, and most importantly, school examinations. India’s elections will undoubtedly be intense — 714 million eligible voters? 4 million election workers? Oh, it’ll be glorious, you betcha.
Yeah, that’s right. India’s electronic.
As BBC tweeted this news to me, I realized I had no idea how the Indian government is structured. (Shame, isn’t it?) Still, with the Interweb at my fingertips, I decided to compile a little government guide (sans the judicial branch) for my benefit and yours becaues I didn’t want to study. (Yes, yes, I know. An educational blupdate. Exciting!) Read more and get informed!
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Maira Kalman’s previous column for the New York Times, The Principles of Uncertainty, but she is back again with monthly updated column, And the Pursuit of Happiness, an exploration of American democracy. The visuals are gorgeous and I absolutely love it. The first post is on the Inauguration — do check it out, add it to your Google Reader, and watch for the updates on the last Friday of each month.