Tag Archives: utah
Today is April 15. Not only is it my dog Buddy Chou’s birthday, but it is also Tax Day. It’s the day we forfeit our hard earned salaries for the better of our country. In return, we all get representation in the House of Representatives and the Senate. Well, most of us do. Residents of the District of Columbia do not get this right. That’s correct; DCers pay thousands of dollars in taxes each year but still get no representation in Congress. That is literally taxation without representation. TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION. Hold up. Isn’t that what people in the 1700s had a huge problem with? They were paying their government yet did not get a vote in anything or anywhere. So, they fixed it. Yay! However, this concern still lingers in Washington D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat from Washington, D.C., has taken it up as her job to get D.C. residents their right to a representative. “Defenders of the Constitution” believe residents of D.C. do not deserve this right because seats in Congress are reserved to representatives of states. Technically, Washington, D.C. is not a state. Is that a fair argument? I’m not buying it. They are paying taxes. They live in America. They deserve the right to have representation in Congress. Are residents of D.C. any less Americans than, say, Californians? Definitely not. (more…)
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.
For the past forty years, the American political scene has moved precipitously to the right. It has become a cliche to point out that Barry Goldwater, once the epitome of conservatism, would be unwelcome in today’s Republican party, dominated by the Christian Right. Indeed, even Worst-President-Ever Ronald Reagan might be shunned as an amnesty supporting, social-security saving, government-expanding RINO. Over nearly a half-century the Republican Party moved from the center to the right, and the Democratic Party from the left to the center. In the past five years, the movement has stopped. That is the lesson of 2006, that would have been the lesson of 2002 and 2004 were it not for the despicable lying and fear-mongering that duped America into embracing George Bush.
In an astounding display of self-delusion Republicans have themselves convinced that the solution to their woes is not to move back toward American values, but even further rightward. The Republican base is slowly killing or marginalizing the only type of Republican that is viable in an America that is – at long last – moving back away from self-imposed exile far to the right of other industrialized democracies. The most recent example comes from Utah’s admittedly conservative 3rd district. Whenever there was an opinion to be taken, Chris Cannon would stake at a position on the extreme right. He was just defeated by a young primary challenger, Jason Chaffetz, who claimed he was – believe it or not – not conservative enough. If the GOP truly believes that the way to reclaim lost majorities is to support more inequality in wealth, more war, more hatred for people who are different, more money-based rationing of healthcare, more contempt for the Constitution and so forth, it could be a long and rosy run for us as Democrats.