Fun:Washington, D.C.

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Technically, DC is a federal district, but it fits best in the territory category.
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We are the perfect team for Washington DC, since we spend wildly ludicrous sums of money on flashy things while ignoring the long-term structural issues that will eventually cripple us. The only difference is that America gets to hold Presidential elections every four years.
Deadspin, "Why Your Team Sucks 2014: Washington Redskins"

Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia), usually referred to as just "DC" or "The District" (by those in the DC Metro area) or "Washington"[note 1] is a federal district wedged between northern Virginia and Maryland which serves as the capital of the United States. The Executive offices, Supreme Court, and Legislative Capitol Building are all located there.

Politicians actually spend very little time in Washington. In the past, Democrats and Republicans went to school together, their kids played ball together, you saw him outside of work with his mutual friends, you went to events together. As congressmen spend less and less time on the Hill, work weeks got shorter and shorter, and now each time these guys interact, it's in a fight. They see each other as the Enemy and that seeps down to their constituencies.

Washington: the swamp anomaly[edit]

Of all detestable places, Washington is the first. Crowd, heat, bad quarters, bad fare, bad smells, mosquitoes, and a plague of flies transcending everything within my experience. Beelzebub surely reigns here, and Willard's HotelWikipedia is his temple.
George Templeton StrongWikipedia[1]

Washington is an exception in many ways:

  • It has no voting representation in the Congress, despite clearly being a part of the U.S. In spite of this, it still has three votes in the Electoral College, as if it were a small state. It has one representative, but they do not have any voting power on the House floor, and it has no senators because it is not a state. The secret real reason that this is not changed is because it would mean more votes for Democrats, according to John Kasich (they voted for the Democrats by over 85% in 1984).[2]
  • It is a planned city on a coast renowned for horribly unplanned cities[note 2] (with the exception of Manhattan and semi-exception of Philadelphia). This, however, doesn't make much difference as the downtown grid is covered with avenues slashing across at odd angles, turning a sensible layout into an insane patchwork of zig-zags. There is a conspiracy theory about this odd layout. A famous urban legend that claims the streets were designed to confuse invading armies is also Bullshit.
  • It is literally built on a swamp, making for really nasty humidity in the summer.
  • Despite enormous amounts of money passing through it, a majority of its inhabitants are poor minorities.
  • The Moonies own one of their two daily newspapers and the guy who founded Amazon owns the other.
  • If you look at a map showing D.C. and its surrounding area, you will notice that Washington along with the cities of Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia, look like a diamond road sign.[note 3] This is because in its original plan the District of Columbia straddled the Potomac River with Arlington and Alexandria incorporated into the District. These cities were returned to Virginia on 9 July 1846 for exactly the reason you'd suspect.[3][4]
  • It is the only city directly ruled by the federal government in the entire US. Many think that the reason is the same as its lack of Congressional representation: they would be ruled by the Democrats.
  • FedEx Field is closer to Baltimore than D.C. If you know your Washington Pigskins, Jack Kent Cooke wanted to get a new stadium before he died, but public money was out of the question, so he built a bare bones stadium and named it after himself. The heiress, Jacquline Kent Cooke (when you wanted a son but biology didn't cooperate), really needed that tax break. No wonder she is beating peasants over the head with a glass handbag.[5]
  • Washington, D.C. has a population of 658,893 crammed within 61.4 miles², not including a daily influx of 5,358,282 visitors attempting to photograph the cherry blossoms.[6]

Nicknames[edit]

  • D.C.
  • The Beltway, after Interstate 495 which encircles both the city and wealthy environs like Bethesda, Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia, home to huge numbers of federal contractors and lobbyists
  • That stinking hole of corruption and depravity
  • Mordor

The site of major (and minor) protests[edit]

United Auto Workers, Sept 19, 1981

Over the decades, Washington D.C. has been the site of major protests and marches. This includes:

  • June/July 1932 - Bonus Army. World War I veterans marched and protested to demand the payment of their bonus from WWI early, which was not due then until 1945 but badly needed during the Great Depression. Some of the Bonus Army marchers stuck around in makeshift camps and wouldn't leave until late July when troops led by soon-to-be-WWII-heroes Gens. MacArthur and Patton (with an obscure major named Dwight Eisenhower as aide-de-camp) forcibly evicted them with bayonets and riot control gas. President Herbert Hoover ordered the assault stopped but MacArthur, in a sign of things to come, ignored him.
  • September 19, 1981 - Solidarity Day March. Various union groups organized a march to protest what would eventually be mocked as Reaganomics.[8]
  • March 26, 1991 - A wide variety of anti-war, union, and worker groups came to protest against U.S. involvement in the First Bush Gulf War.[9]
  • 2002-2007 - Too many protests to count against the Iraq War organized by one of two rival anti-war groups, the ANSWER coalition and United for Peace and Justice. Several of these were quite large and drew in excess of 100,000 people. The ANSWER protests drew criticism for their lineup of flaky speakers trying to inject every other possible issue into the protest ("free the Cuban Five", "independence for Puerto Rico", "free Mumia", Palestinian and immigrant rights issues, ad nauseam) instead of keeping it focused on opposing the war. The more mainstream UFPJ's protests were better received.
  • September 12, 2009 - Tea Partiers show up en masse to party. Organizers make wild claims of 600,000 to 2 million in attendance, but the D.C. Fire Department estimated 60,000 to "in excess of 75,000." The date was based on the 9/12 Movement, one of Glenn Beck's concoctions.
  • April 12th-16th, 2016 - Democracy Spring, a grassroots march from Philadelphia, PA to Washington D.C., occurs protesting for stronger campaign finance laws. It turns out approximately 4,000 people and results in 1,200 arrests for civil disobedience.[10]
  • April 16th-19th, 2016 - Democracy Awakening, a mass mobilization of nearly 300 organizations, demand the restoration of the Voting Rights Act and campaign finance reform.[11]
  • January 21st, 2017 - The Women's March on Washington, the largest protest in American history and proof that Trump's inauguration drew more crowds than Obama.
  • January 6, 2021 - 2021 U.S. Capitol riot, an insurrection by racists, fascists, conspiracy theorists, and other Trump supporters in an attempt to overturn Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 election. Trump himself told the rioters to "fight like hell," while Rudy Giuliani called for "trial by combat."

Possible statehood?[edit]

DC statehood has been a popular idea among its residents for generations, but it's only now that the idea of DC statehood is starting to be taken more seriously. DC can vote for president per the 23rd Amendment, but they have no representation in Congress aside from a non-voting delegate despite DC residents paying federal income taxes like everyone else. The Trump administration made things feel even more urgent, as many residents were upset with incidents such as police using tear gas on protesters just so Trump could take a photo op in front of a church. Currently, DC elects two shadow SenatorsWikipedia and a shadow RepresentativeWikipedia which they vote on as if they were a state but have no real power (Puerto Rico does this too). The House passed a bill in 2020 promoting DC statehood,[12] but thanks to Mitch McConnell it was never voted on. The bill would have also renamed DC into the "Douglas Commonwealth" after famous abolitionist Frederick DouglasWikipedia.[note 4]

Arguments against[edit]

It's too small[edit]

Currently, Wyoming and Vermont both have lower populations than DC, with Alaska, North Dakota, and Delaware not too far ahead. Plus, the Northwest Ordinance standardized the minimum state population as 60,000, and DC has well over that (plus Congress could ignore that anyway as they did with Nevada). It would be by far the smallest state by land area, being a seventeenth of the size of Rhode Island, but there is no precedent for something having too little land area to become a state.

It's unconstitutional[edit]

This is incorrect. Article I, Section 8, Clause 17, which designates that there must be a federal district for the seat of government, only specifies the maximum size, not the minimum size, and Congress already proved that changing DC's shape doesn't violate the Constitution when they gave Arlington to Virginia. DC statehood will still leave the Capitol Building, the White House, the National Mall, etc. in the federal district. Others, like the Heritage Foundation, assert that the 23rd Amendment prevents statehood by making the federal district a permanent electoral entity. However, this doesn't prevent Congress from changing the size of the district, and the amendment allows the electoral votes from the federal district to be appointed "in such manner as Congress may direct". So even if DC statehood results in the remainder of the district having three electoral votes, Congress can just pass a law that will give those electoral votes to whoever would have won the election if those votes weren't there, and then those votes will have absolutely no impact on the presidential election.

Democrats just want votes[edit]

This is the main argument used. Ever since DC was allowed to vote in presidential elections in 1964, DC has always gone to a Democrat by an overwhelming amount. Even in the 1984 U.S. presidential election, where Ronald Reagan won 49 states and only lost Minnesota by around one percent, DC still voted for Mondale by an over 70% margin. No Republican has even won 10% of D.C.'s vote since George H.W. Bush in 1988. Because DC statehood will mean basically two permanent Democratic Senators, most Republicans will always claim that DC statehood is a nefarious plot by the Democrats to rig the Senate in their favor.

However, this ignores the myriad of nonpartisan reasons why statehood would be desirable for DC, as well as the overwhelming majority of DC residents that would prefer DC statehood. The partisanship of a state shouldn't even be a factor as to whether or not it should be a state. You don't see any Democrats saying that Wyoming shouldn't be a state because it always votes Republican or that the Dakotas should be merged to promote fairer representation. Besides, adding a state because it will benefit a political party is nothing new in American politics - many states in the West were added to boost Republicans' electoral chances.[13]

Notable imports[edit]

  • Slugs commuting in from Fake Virginia and Maryland
  • Your tax dollars
  • Protesters

Notable exports[edit]

  • Duke Ellington, famous jazz musician and composer who is featured on their quarter
  • Minor Threat, punk band and inspiration for the straight edge movement
  • Bad Brains, an awesome hardcore punk band
  • Fugazi, and almost everybody on Dischord Records
  • Angel, worst hair metal band ever, who may be better known for Frank Zappa spoofing them than for their music.
  • The Blackbyrds, a pretty good R&B vocal group from the 1970s ("Walking in Rhythm," "Rock Creek Park")
  • Thievery Corporation, a decent lounge-downtempo "conglomeration". Given the legal status of cannabis in DC, it's no coincidence most of their fans are also stoners.
  • Urban Verbs. Calling them a Talking Heads imitation isn't fair. After all, Talking Heads were from New York, Urban Verbs were from D.C.
  • Frequent scandals and the like

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. By the unwashed heathens in other, lesser parts of the country, except for that state in the Pacific Northwest and its neighbors to the south and to the east, where people use "Washington" when referring to The State of, and "D.C." for That One-Time Malarial Swamp on the Banks of the Potomac.
  2. See, Boston, which city's roads were laid out on random cowpaths, according to local legend.
  3. It is a perfect square. Each side is ten miles (16 km) long.
  4. Political correctness isn't the only reason they're doing this - as they want to be a state and not a federal district, they'd need to drop the "District" from their name.

References[edit]