Sunday, 15 October 2000 14:47

D.C.'s Leaders Should Stand Up for Democracy

Written by Karen A. Szulgit | The Washington Post

Imagine how the political climate in the District could be transformed if the mayor and the D.C. Council demanded autonomy for the people. As citizens, it should be our democratic right to make our own electoral decisions--including voting for our own Superior Court judges, writing our own legislation, enacting our own initiatives and approving our own budget. But that’s not the political reality.

Apparently, supporting license tags with the slogan “Taxation Without Representation” is the boldest political statement that our mayor and D.C. Council are prepared to make on behalf of their constituents’ rights. These elected officials seem to have forgotten the drive of our forefathers, who sought independence from an oppressive and tyrannical foreign government, and those who came later and took to the streets in the struggles for women’s suffrage and civil rights.

Where is the commitment, passion, protest and outcry from our elected leadership to address the unfinished business of the civil rights movement of gaining self-determination for the people of the District?

Envision the reaction in this country and abroad if people learned that the mayor and all the members of the D.C. Council marched to Capitol Hill, sat in the visitors’ gallery during the D.C. appropriations process and had the courage and conviction to stand up for democracy in their city. Our nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, could lead the effort from the House floor, sending a clear message to Congress and the administration that the rights of D.C. residents can no longer be ignored.

Should our District leaders be arrested and detained for “disruption of Congress,” the violation of our civil and human rights would receive tremendous worldwide media attention. Surely, their act of civil disobedience would be a revolutionary and historic event.

In one day, our locally elected officials could achieve more to advance the cause of sovereignty for the District than many who have worked on this issue for decades.

It can’t be wrong to stand up for our rights, so why won’t our mayor and the members of the D.C. Council lead us in this struggle?

-- Karen A. Szulgit

was arrested on July 26 on a charge of disruption of Congress; her trial is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Read 735 times Last modified on Thursday, 25 April 2019 15:01

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