Friday, March 2, 2012

Repeal Day for Congressional Stepchild!

Most people in this great land celebrate Repeal Day on December 5th, the day Utah (yes, the Mormon state) helped the United States ratify the 21st amendment in 1933 thus ending Prohibition for almost everybody. The residents of Washington, DC celebrate Repeal Day on March 2nd. Say whaaaa?

Residents of Washington, DC have, quite literally since it was created, been the red-headed stepchild of Congress. Initially, Washington, DC was completely under federal control. It got better in 1974 but as a resident of the District, I still have a long list of grievances about Congressional meddling in our local affairs. In the past, the US Congress has asserted its will on issues such as abortion, gun control, budgets, and voting rights (Congress really enjoys imposing rules on DC residents that don't pass muster on a national scale). All local laws, including the budget, must be approved by Congress. My favorite is voting rights. The approximately 600,000 residents of Washington, DC do not enjoy basic voting rights. We have no official member of the House of Representatives or the Senate. Yes, Elanor Holmes Norton represents us in the House and we have a Shadow Senator but these positions do not have voting rights on federal legislation. Also, in my head the Shadow Senator does nothing but follow the real Senators around the halls of the Capitol Building.

Getting back to the issue at hand...On November 1, 1917, the Sheppherd Act went into effect "prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and importation of liquor in the District of Columbia." The legislation was repealed on March 1, 1934, some three months after repeal ended for the rest of the country. Not only did DC get Prohibition some 2 years early it lasted a few months longer. Our forefathers stayed thirsty longer than your forefathers.

"Taxation without Representation is Tyranny"
-James Otis, Jr

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