To the editor:
Yesterday, while everyone focused on health care, the citizens of Washington, DC, capital of our great nation, received again a boot in the face; this time, from your Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).
As you may know, Senator Paul attached a rider to a piece of legislation that would have given our city increased control of its own budget. This is the sort of control exercised by every other city in the country. The Senate Committee, headed by Senator Lieberman (ID-CT), fully expected it to go through without problem. Then came Senator Paul. Senator Paul's rider was totally unrelated to the budget legislation. Instead, it would have abolished the right of all DC women to terminate pregnancies under any circumstance. It would, at the same time, have loosened DC's gun control laws. Senator Paul said he attached this rider "because [he] could."
I am one of the people who live in Washington, DC. We have been disenfranchised since the early years of the Republic when representatives delineated an area that now is home to 600,000+ people but did not allow it to have representation in the national Legislature they created. In fact, we couldn't even vote for President until 1960.
Perhaps this decision made sense then--in a time when travel was by horse and buggy; TV did not exist; and airplanes, cars, and the Internet were not even gleams in people's eyes.
Today, this lack of representation is outrageous. As a retired grandmother who still teaches part-time, I love this beautiful city in which I live. I love its history. I love its monuments. I love the river that runs by it and the trees that line its banks. I love the young folks who play games of touch football on the grass by the Smithsonian. I love the tourists who come with their children to walk about, marvel, and reflect. Plus, I am too old to move.
So I am constantly angered and saddened that my neighbors and I have no voting representation in the legislature of our nation--and that Americans in other parts of the country do not seem to care. And my blood pressure goes way up when insult is added to injury, and someone, like Senator Paul, who lives in another part of the country, steps on our elected officials to interfere with our city and its governance.
How would the citizens of Louisville feel if Eleanor Holmes Norton, our Washington DC representative (who is not allowed to vote), had been able to do this--and therefore done it--to you and your city? What if Representative Norton had pushed aside your city council, your budget head, your state and local reps, and dictated to Louisville? Would you not be outraged? Whatever the issue, Ms.Norton, as wonderful, educated, and respected as she is, has no business dictating to the citizens of a city that lies about 600 miles away.
Neither does Senator Rand Paul.
I wish you would write and tell him this.