Thursday, December 11, 2014

Because We Can

I'm a big proponent of D.C. statehood, in part because I'm a local but mostly as part of a larger commitment to ensuring that all American citizens on American territory have the same democratic and self-governance rights as any one else. Washington's unique position, unfortunately, makes it a particularly tempting target for meddling congresscritters who have objections to how the city's denizens want to run their own affairs. The latest skirmish in this never-ending debate is over marijuana, where a contingent of Republicans wants to block a recent decriminalization law passed in the District:
The situation leaves Republicans in an awkward position — not only contradicting their long-standing philosophical views that the federal government shouldn't meddle in local affairs....
Hey, hey, Politico. This is a serious issue. No need for mockery.

That being said, it is incredible that these GOPers feel no need to even play lip-service to the ideal. Here's Maryland Rep. Andy Harris:
“That’s the way the Constitution was written,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said in an interview Wednesday. “If they don’t like that oversight, move outside of the federal district to one of the 50 states that is not covered by the jurisdiction of Congress as a whole.”
Haha! Being able to control local politics is a privilege for other people. Way to show 'em, Andy! Who else is adopting the "because we can!" line?
“They may have a say, but not the complete say,” argued Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee, referring to voters in D.C.
Conservative Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, the House majority whip, said this when asked about reining in D.C. pot laws: “It’s a constitutional responsibility.”

“Washington, D.C. has a lot to offer,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). “Recreational marijuana shouldn't be one of them.”

“Congress oversees the D.C. spending, and that was an item that we felt was appropriate,” said Rogers, whose Eastern Kentucky district has had its own problems with prescription drug abuse over the years.

Asked about interfering on a matter enacted by a huge majority of voters, Rogers said: “I’ll refer to my previous answer.”
To be sure, other congressional Republicans (e.g., Rand Paul, Dana Rohrabacher) The thing about principles is that they aren't worth much if you only adhere to them when you have to. If you actually believe in them, then you follow them even when given the option not. For example, I don't refrain from murdering folks because there are laws forbidding it -- I actually genuinely believe in the principle that murder is wrong. As for Andy Harris, well, I wouldn't plan a trip to Yellowstone with him is all I'm saying.

UPDATE: DC residents have begun flooding Rep. Harris' phones. And while some of them are complaining about the marijuana business, others have just accepted Rep. Harris' stewardship and want him to fix other things. You know, trash, parking tickets -- the sort of local issues that apparently can't be left to folks not living in one of the 50 states. I have to say, this is by far my favorite mode of DC political protest.

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