Saturday, July 22, 2006

Practical Alternatives to DC Statehood

Although many feel that Washington, DC (a city in a country in North America) should have statehood, because such a move would require a majority in congress currently dominated by unfriendly republicans, it seems unlikely this will occur in any reasonable period of time. (Indeed, world peace, social justice, and ecological stability seem more reasonable short term goals, which compete with practical medium term goals like taking a shower, doing the laundry, and having a lunch.)

Even so, one can indulge in practical if slightly less utopian schemes for achieving representation for those persons in DC who feel deprived, and hurt, because they don't get to vote for the candidate of their choice. (I don't include therapy here. Only anarchists and other antivoting types might think wanting to vote can be cured by therapy).

Presumably, it can be noted, the reason statehood is needed is because if one compares to DC to Baltimore, or New Orleans, one could easily see that problems familiar to DC such as poor school results (test scores, graduations, plumbing), high crime rates (eg Abramoff and casinos, Barry's failure to support the war by paying his fair share of taxes, etc., ), etc. do not occur in other cities. Indeed, most reasonable people agree that the only problems in the world are caused by the lack of seats in Congress for DC. 'Symptoms' of the lack of congress seats likely include global warming, war in the mideast and elsewhere, etc. though equally likely these issues dont even exist, and are simply used to distract people from real issues. (Real issues people should be thinking about might be the state seal, state tree, and state bird.)

While not everyone might not agree that statehood is the solution here, anything is worth a try.

1. One option is a form of 'reperations'. This is a consolation prize. Instead of getting to vote, one settles for being elected (or selected, for the cynical). While this requires more time than the act of voting, it comes with a hefty paycheck, and expense account. A logistic difficulty may be that there are too few positions in the Congress. One practical option to solve this problem would be to expand congress to its current size to that plus 550,000 people (minus the people who are under 18 and hence incompetent to serve, or in jail, since this is politically incorrect). Some might argue that this would be unfair to the 50 states, who conceivably might be outvoted. One would only have to try it to see. Another problem would be seating for votes. One could use the mall and a tarp, as is common during political events such as the popular Promise Keepers march.

2. Another alternative to DC statehood, is to 'rotate'. Here everyone shares the pain, so DC gets to be Alaska for one year (or term) while Alaskans then get to complain about lack of representation. The next year might be connecticut, then delaware, etc.

3. Even better, would be to give up statehood, in exchange for letting all the people of the 50 states freely elect their representatives to Congress by choosing the best candidates, selected from DC residents. This would save commuting costs as well. Conceivably a form of 'british style' parliamentary democracy coulfd be evolved, so the 50 state residents could select, say, ANC members, and then the ANC members could divide the spoils on the hill by choosing representatives. Or, DC residents could select ANC comissionars, who then are voted on by the 50 states.

One can note that often people who are too close to the problem cannot objectively look at or analyze it or solve it. (For example, imagine a brain surgeon trying to operate on him or herself). Thus, DC residents may be able to govern the states much better than members of those communities can, because they are so emotionally intertwined with them. DC residents also have no vested interests which might make them favor themselves or their friends. If one is worried about accountability (eg since DC residents might not care if the states improve or fall apart under their rule since they don't live there) one could make salaries based on the principle 'pay for performance' which could include future pay. Then, all rise and sink together.

Because not all ANC members buy into the whole equality thing, one might need to permit more adequate representations of communities. Just as some states with small populations get to have the same number of representatives as big states (eg alaska gets the same as california, one could see that a more just and fair allocation of seats to congress might require that some ANC's would have to be broken up into smaller sections each with its representatives. By iteration ANCs might be broken down by the block and household level, so for example one might have one house with the same number of elected representatives as California (which is justifiable because any state that would elect movie stars evidently is insignificant).

It can be noted that there is some scientific support for such ideas, as well as philosophical. From DC Calkifornia looks very small---indeed, its invisible---so an objective case can be made for saying its insignificant. Renormalization group methods may also be applied to the argument.

4. A simpler route would be for DC to secede from the USA and become its own State. Then, DC could invade the 50 states and annex them as colonies. While being congresspersons then would become impossible, one could settle for being colonial masters and emporers, as a second prize.

5. Another path might be to use current anti-imigrant sentiment to alter voting power patterns in the US. One would have to cut back a bit on rhetoric about needing illegal immigrants to do jobs americans don't want, however. Noting that a legal argument can be made that Texas is actually part of Mexico, one would note that then an illegal alien occupies the job or presidency, and americans can actually do these jobs. Same with the rest of the southwest . So one can deport them home to Texas, Mexico. While not solving the statehood problem, then DC would only have 40 or so states to deal with and might be able to get the votes needed to change the constitution.