Updated: 2/12/21 – New postcard resources!
The recent insurrection clarified a serious issue…GOP refusal to vote for DC statehood last year put its residents in danger.
Phone/email and postcard scripts! Join in! LET’S COMMIT TO REVERSING THIS INJUSTICE NOW!
(Very enlightening interview with the D.C.’s shadow legislator – Sen. Paul Strauss. )
The residents of what is now the District of Columbia lost their full democratic rights to self-government and a government of, by and for the people over 221 years ago. Ever since then, they have been demanding that Congress restore the full rights of American citizenship. Now, with future insurrectionists planning their next attacks, being without full rights is not just unjust. It’s also dangerous.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said, “We must get statehood on the President’s desk within the first 100 days of the 117th Congress. Congress must immediately transfer command of the District of Columbia National Guard from the President of the United States and put it squarely under the command and control of the District of Columbia.”
Asked how she would have responded to the riot had she been a governor instead of a mayor, Bowser said, “We would not be restricted in any way for how to deploy the Guard, so we wouldn’t have to clear a deployment plan with the secretary of the Army.”
Call your legislators! – The Senate just introduced their own statehood bill – S.51
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep./Sen. [___] for being an original cosponsor for the [Rep. – HR.51/ Sen. – S.51] – Washington, D.C. Admission Act. I’m also requesting the Rep./Sen.[___] cosponsor [Rep. – H.R.1/Sen. S.1] – For the People Act of 2021, which includes support for DC statehood.
NOTES (Updated 1/27/21):
- D.C. statehood is addressed in H.R.51/S.51 – Washington, D.C. Admission Act, and in H.R. 1/S.1- For the People Act of 2021 (Part 3, Section O, Title II – Election Integrity, Subtitle C, Section 2201)
- H.R.51 – Washington, D.C. Admission Act is now posted, and Brownley and Carbajal are now cosponsors, among 208 Democrats who’ve signed on, zero Republicans.
- S.51 – Washington, D.C. Admission Act – Feinstein and Padilla are cosponsors. There are 38 Democrats signed on, zero Republicans.
- HR.-1– For the People Act: Brownley and Carbajal have still NOT signed on as cosponsors.
- S.1 – For the People Act: Not posted yet.
- Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
- or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
- Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
- and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553,
LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
- Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
Send postcards to any legislator you want!
A member is printing up several thousand postcards!!! JOIN IN!
Preprinted [just fill in the name & sign] postcards
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with “51 POSTCARDS” in the subject line for postcards to be sent to you along with an legislator address list. We need your mailing address and whether you want just the DEM package (10 senators, 27 representatives, 3 “thank you” cards), the GOP package (50 cards, of course) or both. We are asking participants to provide their own postage.
“I want to make my own”
- You are welcome to copy/paste the graphics below and create your own postcards!
- To Democrats: Here’s the table of Democrat House and Senate members that have NOT signed on to one or both bills yet and to whom you should direct polite postcards asking them to do so. (Nancy, we know you’ve been busy…)
- For Republicans: Wouldn’t it be amazing if they actually believed some of the 1776 principles that Trump’s cosplayers were yelling about at the insurrection, and did something to alleviate taxation without representation for over 700k American citizens? LIKE MAKE THEM A STATE!? It doesn’t hurt to ask!
- There are exactly ZERO Republican House members or senators on the list of current cosponsors. Just send postcards to all GOP senators.
- Mailing Addresses:
Proposed postcard front. Logo from https://statehood.dc.gov
Postcard script suggestion for Democratic representatives who HAVE NOT COSPONSORED one or both of the bills H.R. 51 and H.R. 1.
Postcard script suggestion for Democratic senators who HAVE NOT COSPONSORED S.51 and S.1
If your representative and/or senator(s) have already cosponsored these bills, thank them and ask them to do more.
Postcard script suggestion for GOP senators who have not cosponsored S.51, which is currently ALL OF THEM.
Beyond 200+ years of Jim Crow disenfranchisement of rights, including being taxed without representation, (an issue “real” patriots should be concerned about), the recent riots clarified why continuing to deny statehood to DC. is dangerous. Though larger in population than two states and almost 60 countries, D.C., as a city, lacks a governor with the ability to call up the D.C. National Guard, leaving that power with the federal government. So while our president was mesmerized by the televised spectacle of real-time insurrection in his name, the Capitol Police force was overwhelmed, and a city with over 712,000 people was left helpless for three hours as riots carried out.
What is it like to live in DC without representation?
This is a really interesting video on the history of the fight for our 51st state.
Write your own script! – Here are some great resources for inspiration.
- Statehood.dc.gov – This is the DC Statehood website maintained by the Government fo the District of Columbia.
- (DCstatehooodyeswecan.org) Timeline – 221 Years of the District of Columbia’s Efforts to Restore Self-Government
- League of Women Voters – DC: This site includes a DC Statehood Toolkit and common FAQ’s on statehood, like “Wouldn’t it make more sense for DC to join neighboring Maryland or Virginia?” It also has a map, for those worried we’d have move federal buildings to make this work. Seriously.
- MAPS OF DC AS A STATE: For those who want to see maps of this new state, here are some options. (statehooddc)(League of Women Voters – DC) (Greater Washington)
- The Tennessee Plan for Statehood. Under the Tennessee Plan, the prospective state’s electorate votes on statehood and ratifies a constitution, without an enabling act, and then uses this as a basis to petition Congress for admission. This approach was pioneered by Tennessee in 1796 and used by Michigan, Iowa, California, Oregon, Kansas, and Alaska to gain admission to the Union. DC voters opted to satisfy the following four conditions for Statehood prior to filing an enabling act with Congress:
- Residents affirmed the desire to become a state, and 86% of voters supported the Washington, DC Admission Act.
- Ratified a State Constitution.
- Established new state boundaries, which would preserve a smaller federal district required by the Constitution (see image and PDF below)
- Committed to a republican form of government that is representative, with elected officials including the election of United States Senators and Representatives on equal footing with the other states in the Union.
- Under the Tennessee Plan a bill must pass the US House of Representatives and US Senate and then must be signed by the President of the United States.
Resources – Racist arguments/history against DC statehood.
- (Think) The D.C. statehood fight is part of an ugly effort to disenfranchise Black and brown people. This article discusses the similar racist issues that accompanied the entry of Hawaii as our 50th state.
- New Republic.com – “The racist roots of DC Statehood.“ This article covers the contribution of James Shepherd Pike, who in 1874, wrote a toxic diatribe called “The Prostrate State: South Carolina under Negro Government,” which is the racist beating heart behind the GOP’s arguments against statehood today.
- Slate: “Republican Arguments Against D.C. Statehood Aren’t Getting Any Newer – or Any Less Racist.”
- History.com: “Why isn’t Washington D.C. a State?“ Nice, clear explanation of how voting rights in the District evolved, or devolved, in this case. “During Reconstruction, black Americans made up about a third of D.C.’s population. Once black men won the right to vote in local D.C. elections in 1867, they quickly established themselves in the city’s local government. Congress responded by dismantling that government through new laws in 1871 and 1874 that gave the president—whom D.C. residents still couldn’t vote for—the sole power to appoint D.C. leaders.“
- Slate: “The Case Against D.C. Statehood Hasn’t Changed Since Marion Barry.“ Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton explains that, “Yes, Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state.” (Dogwhistle translation: white people who vote GOP!) Note to Sen. Cotton: The Constitution mandates neither citizen occupations nor “class” as prerequirements to statehood. (In 2019, approximately 15 thousand D.C. residents were involved in “Mining, Logging and Construction” and 1300 in “Manufacturing.”) But as we saw with the Sedition Caucus, the Constitution is troublesome for the GOP.
10 common arguments against DC statehood.
(Iowa Capital Dispatch) “The residents’ desire to become a state, with the full rights and representation, is not about party. It is about equality and having a voice. It is about not feeling less than their fellow Americans. It is about self-determination and identity. For our D.C. veterans, and for the families of our fallen heroes, it is about a star on the flag they cherish and for which they gave so much. It is about truly being a part of the United States of America.
- D.C. statehood is not a power grab by Democrats. This argument is the biggest red herring of all. Yes, D.C. would get two voting senators and one voting representative, and they would be Democrats at this time. However, in the past 10 years only six legislative votes in the Senate were decided by three or less. There have been only two occasions in which adding two votes to either Yea or Nay would have changed the outcome: Senate Resolution 21 on Sept. 25, 2019 and Senate Bill 627 on July 31, 2011. Senate confirmations for Supreme Court justices also would not have been greatly affected. Since 1986, the confirmation of Bret Kavanaugh is the only one that may have changed if both additional senators did not vote to confirm.
- Giving two senators to D.C. would not dilute or take away power of another state. Statehood for D.C. is about equality and expanding democracy. The balance of power only changes because the will of the people who elect officials to represent them changes. The total number of senators would go up to 102, just as it went up so many times since our country was founded with the original 13 states, 26 senators and 59 representatives. Growth as a country is a good thing. I’m glad our ancestors did not feel 13 was a good number and stop there. The flag has been updated many times and if you are worried about what a 51-star flag would look like, check it out!
- The founders set up D.C. the way they did for a reason, but things have changed. It wasn’t until the year 1801 people living D.C. were no longer considered citizens of either Maryland or Virginia and lost their representation. In 1788, Alexander Hamilton was concerned about the disenfranchisement of the people and proposed an amendment that would give voting rights and representation back to D.C. when the district reached a certain size, but it was defeated. In 1800, there were only 8,144 people living in Washington, D.C., and today there are over 700,000. As our country has grown, we have made changes to be inclusive, so why are we excluding the people who live in our nation’s capital?
- Our founders did not want any state having undue influence or control over our nation’s capital. No one is trying to change this. H.R. 51, passed in the U.S. House on June 26, 2020, maintains the district as required by the Constitution, it just reduces the area. It is not the first time it has been reduced. In 1846, land was receded back to Virginia, reducing the district’s size. The Constitution does not call for a minimum size for the federal district, but sets a maximum “not exceeding ten miles square.” As to influence and control, can’t the same arguments be made now about Maryland and Virginia that border the nation’s capital? I do not recall either state taking over our country. The logistics of joining the residential and commercial area of D.C. with another state would be challenging to say the least. The combining of infrastructure, government, and laws, not to mention the cost, bureaucracy and red tape involved would take years to accomplish. Besides, D.C. has its own identity, history and spirit that should not be lost by merging with another.
- A 2019 Gallup poll showed a majority of Americans are against D.C. statehood, but … the poorly worded question asked was “Would you favor or oppose making Washington, D.C., a separate state?” Not surprisingly, with so little information and a lack of understanding of the issues and solutions surrounding this topic by the average American, two-thirds of respondents opposed D.C. statehood. My personal experience when I worked a week-long event across Iowa, with tens of thousands of people from all over the country, was that an amazing number of people were uninformed. A few could not get past the party divisiveness but many did. There were a lot of people we talked with who did either already support or decided to support D.C. Statehood and signed our national and/or state petitions. In all, 34 states were represented in the signatures we received over that week, including Democrats, independents and Republicans. What was clear is a nationwide educational campaign will have a tremendous impact in making giving statehood to the residential and commercial areas of D.C.
- D.C. is not too full of “crime, corruption and dysfunction” to be allowed to be a state. If that were the litmus test for statehood, there are several states in danger of being demoted to territories. The federal government is in charge, so Congress should either clean it up or get out of they way and let D.C. run itself as a true state.
- (WAPO) Republicans have argued the city is too corrupt and too financially dependent on the federal government to be the 51st state — although the former argument does not have any bearing on voting rights elsewhere in the country, and D.C. residents pay the among the most federal income taxes per capita in the nation.
- It is not unconstitutional to make D.C. a state and it can be done without a constitutional amendment. Every state added to the Union after the original 13 has been done the same way D.C. would. Article IV, Section 3 of the United States Constitution allows for the admission of new states by an act of Congress. There would still be a federally controlled district as required by the Constitution.
- D.C. is not too small to be a state. It will be the smallest geographically. However, it has a greater population than Wyoming or Vermont, and almost as many people as North Dakota or Alaska. Should those small states give up their status and representation? Nope.
- (From 6 collossally Stupid Arguments against DC Statehood) “Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks took issue with the size of DC, saying “I will never vote to give a single, middling-size city the same power as one of America’s 50 states,” adding there are a number of cities in Alabama about the same size as DC that don’t qualify for statehood. With a population of roughly 700,000 people, DC has more citizens than either Vermont or Wyoming. DC is the 20th most populous city in the country, while Birmingham, Alabama’s largest city, comes in at 109th with a population of roughly 200,000 people“
- District residents should not have to move or rejoin Maryland. It’s their home. Should the colonists have just said, “Well, we don’t like being taxed without representation so we all better move?” If so, we would be living in a much different country today. This argument is also out of touch with reality. Putting aside the emotional cost, there is a financial barrier to moving.
- (From 6 collossally Stupid Arguments against DC Statehood) “North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy said DC land not controlled by the federal government should just be returned to the state whence it came, giving residents the right to vote as Maryland citizens. A nice thought, except for the fact that Maryland hasn’t consented to such a plan…Maryland Rep. Andy Harris gave an impassioned speech in defense of his state, saying “The nerve of hundreds of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle thinking it’s [Congress’] land, it’s Maryland’s land!” Um, no. When Maryland ceded its land to create the capital, it formally transferred control of that land to the federal government.
- Wamu.org: “Republican Lawmakers Introduce Three Bills to Block or Limit D.C. Statehood.” Two of the bills discussed, H.R. 8539 and H.R. 8516, call for D.C. to retrocede to Maryland, which residents have refused to do for 200 years. A third bill, H.J.Res. 97, sponsor, Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to block the expansion of the U.S. Senate beyond 100 members, which ignores the requirement in Article V of the Constitution ‘that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.’”
- Are you thinking “it doesn’t affect me, why should I care?” This IS important. It is worth noting here that because D.C. is not considered a state, it received a fraction of what states did in COVID-19 assistance, including states with less population. It has been said, “Show me your budget and I’ll show you what you care about.” Do we care so little for the people of D.C. and our nation’s capital that we would allow this blatant discrimination?
- United we stand, divided we fall. It is a mantra of our great nation, but we are not living up to it. For many around the world, the United States is a beacon of hope and democracy, yet we are the only democratic nation that denies both voting rights in the legislature and the right to self-governance to the people of our nation’s capital. We are stronger together and our passion for spreading democracy around the world should surely apply to our own country and fellow Americans.
- More than 700,000 Americans are excluded from our democracy. And why? Is it because they are less than other Americans; because they vote for the wrong party; because they live in the wrong place; because they don’t have the right industry or agriculture; because they’re too small; because of the color of their skin; because 50 is a nice round number; because we can’t be bothered to care; because the founders would want us to continue to exclude such a large portion of our population from the democracy they fought and died to give us; because we are incapable of fixing it; or maybe because it’s just not a priority? Do you believe any of those? Together we can fix it, and it is time!”
- DC isn’t financially prepared for statehood (From 6 collossally Stupid Arguments against DC Statehood) Georgia Rep. Jody Hice said “there’s nobody who’s a greater supporter of state’s rights than I am,” but said DC was “not prepared financially” to “shoulder the burden of statehood,” citing a time when Congress had to bail out DC in the 1990’s. However, a lot has changed since then. In 2018, DC received a triple A credit rating, the highest rating possible. Meanwhile, Illinoisans still get to enjoy statehood despite its credit rating hovering just above “junk” status.
- DC doesn’t have a logging or mining industry (From 6 collossally Stupid Arguments against DC Statehood) “Wisconsin Rep. Glenn Grothman said DC “is not like any state out there,” as it doesn’t have “agriculture, manufacturing, logging or mining” industries. He said if DC became a state, representatives would spend “almost all their time trying to get money for the city.” Well…yes. DC definitely has a brain-based economy, but the top three industries of Connecticut are “finance, insurance, and real estate” and its citizens still get a vote. And any representative not trying to get the maximum possible federal funding for their constituents isn’t really doing their job.“
(More detailed read from Indivisible here.) “American democracy is built on the promise that all people should have a say in our federal government through elected representatives who can then create and execute laws on behalf of the people. However, that is not the case for the 700,000 Americans who live in the District of Columbia, who lack equal voting rights compared to their neighbors across the country. In fact, D.C. residents lack a voting representative in the House and have no representation in the Senate at all. Making D.C. the 51st state would go a long way towards making the legislative branch more representative of the country as a whole.
In addition to being a critical democracy reform, D.C. statehood is also a racial justice issue. Historically, racist politicians have prevented D.C. from becoming a state to prevent D.C.’s Black residents from building political power, from the days of the Emancipation Proclamation to the present. D.C. has long been a majority Black city, and the current population is still made up by a majority of Black people and people of color. If D.C. is granted statehood, it will be the only state in the nation to have a plurality of Black residents.
The District’s lone representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton (who has no vote on the House floor), is already preparing her D.C. statehood bill for introduction in the 117th Congress. In the 116th Congress, Congresswoman Norton broke the record for original cosponsors with 155 Democrats signed on, and we need to help her break that record again. It is critically important to get every single Democrat signed on as an original cosponsor of the D.C. statehood bill. If Democrats care about fixing our democracy and ensuring racial justice for all, then they must support statehood for D.C.”
Image in header by Tyler Merbler
Do you have more time?
- 3 QUICK ACTIONS: AMERICAN RELIEF PLAN, DE-FANG DEJOY, PUBLIC CHARGE Here.
- SENATORS – THE GOP IS GASLIGHTING US. CONVICT TRUMP NOW! Here.
- GET READY TO FLUSH THE FILIBUSTER – Here.
- IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS H.R. 1 – Here.