Friday, November 20, 2009

Is DC Mature?

I was taken by surprise by an article about the new proposed Home Rule Act. Not because of the thing that should be shocking - the lack of a right to self-governance in the nation's capital - but because of the reasoning behind it, a historical perspective that I was ignorant of.

In more than two hours of testimony, Fenty and Gray told a congressional subcommittee that the city and its leaders are now mature enough to lose some of the congressional scrutiny established under the Home Rule act. [emphasis mine]

First, let's remember what we're talking about here: all DC laws, budgets, etc., must be approved by Congress before they can become law. The new act would not loosen restrictions much, it would still allow Congress to overturn laws passed by the district, it just wouldn't require congressional approval to pass them in the first place. And all of that is, I believe, obviously ridiculous. But what I noticed here was more about the attitude, present in the word choice, that led to these laws seeming necessary/reasonable in the first place. It's about the city and its leaders being "mature" enough to handle democracy, "mature" enough to handle truly having a right to vote. In a majority black city, it seems clear why some congressmen still think the city deserves separate treatment. Perhaps as the population changes, and the city becomes more white, it will suddenly be seen as "mature" enough.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The District of Columbia was created to be the federal seat of government. If people did not like how DC was run they should not have moved there. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

Mature? Assuming you want to toss away the notion that the District was founded the way it was, are they mature? They stood behind a Mayor who at the age of 54 was arrested on drug charges and perjury. He was convicted on drug charges and had a hung jury on the others because half the jury thought the evidence had been faked. He was then elected to Mayor again. He later cheated on his taxes and was found to have drugs in his system. He is now on the DC City Council. Do these things show maturity? I think the question of maturity is a pointless one, but if you insist on asking it, then I will insist on answering it.