- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 10, 2011

Well, Dear Readers, the D.C. statehood crowd is at it again.

Instead of launching a serious, concerted national effort with arguments that appeal to Americans everywhere, they are back to their old incestuous ways.

In recent weeks, they have been talking among themselves, drumming up silly monikers for Pennsylvania Avenue — “America’s Main Street” — and making disenfranchisement proclamations.

What a silly waste of time.

The statehood movement is being re-energized because Congress again is exercising its prerogative to curb voting rights for the city’s congressional delegate and because of the failure of so many past attempts to generate nationwide support and momentum.

So, instead of keeping their eyes on a political prize, advocates indulge themselves in gimmicks, like D.C. license plates stamped with “Taxation without representation” and a lighted ticker outside City Hall that displays a running tally of residents’ federal tax payments.

The latest symbolic gestures include proposals to rename Pennsylvania Avenue with such catchy alternatives as “Give D.C. Full Democracy Avenue,” “D.C. Demands Statehood Avenue” and “D.C. Statehood Now Avenue.”

Those suggestions and others reflect the joke supporters of statehood are playing on themselves.

But wait, there’s more.

Besides the Pennsylvania Avenue renaming campaign, activists are also considering adding a few editorial emendations to the city’s strategically placed “Welcome to Washington” signs.

Those changes, which would be posted at the gateways to the nation’s capital, include the hospitable “Welcome to Washington: Unrepresented in Congress for over 200 years,” “Welcome to Washington: Ask your representative to give DC a vote,” “Welcome to Washington: Denied full democracy for over 200 years and counting,” “Welcome to Washington: Where over 600,000 residents are denied full democracy each day,” and, finally, “Welcome to Washington: Enjoy your stay and join our fight for statehood.”

That last one would say all that needs to be said — except there is no “fight” going on.

What we have here is a debate among ourselves over whether our delegate to Congress should have expanded voting rights or whether another state should be added to the union. In today’s political climate, one can say only: Good luck, but fat chance.

But do you know what?

I’m not certain statehood and voting rights backers even understand that they are not only hurting their own cause with the gimmickry, but that long ago residents undercut the cause by proclaiming that their new state would be renamed “New Columbia.” D.C. voters adopted the name in 1982, and congressional legislation followed in 1983.

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