. . .
It would be impossible to buy all the food needed for their Passover Seder.
. . .
Muriel started walking quicker than she had before. She ignored the Washington Monument leaning in the fading sunlight. She rushed past the White House without a second glance. Gradually the stately buildings began to recede.
When she got to her neighborhood, her stomach grumbled as she smelled the delicious food from all the other Seders.
from The Passover Guest
by Susan Kusel
illustrated by Sean Rubin
(adapted from the story “Kunstn-makher” by Isaac Leib Peretz)
Holiday House, 2021
Alaska and Hawaii both achieved statehood in 1959. Alaska on January 3, and Hawaii on August 21. In preparation for their admittance to the Union, a high school teacher in Lancaster, Ohio, gave his students an assignment: Design an American flag to accommodate 50 states. It was a math problem for Bob Heft. He successfully arranged the 50 stars in nine horizontal rows alternating six and five stars in each row. He kept the 13 stripes and earned a B- due to “lack of originality.” Bob wrote to his congressman who convinced the government to adopt the design from over 1,000 that were submitted. His teacher changed Bob’s grade to A and Bob Heft’s 50-star flag went into production on July 4, 1960.
At the time of his death in 2009, Bob is thought to have designed a 51-star flag, too. Let’s hear it for Puerto Rico! and Guam!
That’s what I wrote in a post I called “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” It appeared on July 2, 2019. What was I thinking? I forgot to include Washington DC.
The controversy for or against DC statehood is long and heated.
statehood.dc.gov is admittedly pro-statehood, but the information is accurate. Here’s what I found under the “Why Statehood” tab.
“Like [people] in all 50 states, DC residents pay federal taxes, serve in the military and on juries, start businesses and families, and contribute to our national economy. In fact, Washington’s residents pay more taxes than residents in 22 states and pay more per capita to the federal government than any state—yet they have no votes in Congress.
“DC elects a non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives who can draft legislation but cannot vote [in a meaningful way]. The current Delegate for DC is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton [who has served since January, 1991].
“DC has 712,000 residents, more than Vermont and Wyoming and comparable” with some others including Delaware and Alaska.
Size is not an issue. The Constitution (Article 1. Section 8) provides an area not to exceed 10 square miles to accommodate the Federal District as the “Seat of the Government of the United States.” The proposed National Capital Service Area would be two square miles and include federal buildings, such as the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court, and the National Mall. Precedent was set in 1846, when an area west of the Potomac River was returned to Virginia. The rest of what now is Washington, District of Columbia would become Washington, Douglass Commonwealth.
By becoming a state, DC would lose its mayor but gain a governor. Two Senators would watch out for their constituents’ needs and wants, and the population would have at least one Representative. These would all be voting members of the US Congress, unlike Delegate Norton, who can vote on the House floor, but not if her vote would be decisive.
Since the Twenty-Third Amendment was ratified on March 29, 1961, residents of Washington DC have been allowed to vote for President and Vice President. The sticky wicket here is a provision in the Amendment. Electors to the Electoral College are chosen from the District. One solution: Congress repeals the Twenty-Third Amendment. Then Electors would be chosen from the new State and no Electors would be chosen from DC.
Another is to admit the new state with a Constitutional Amendment of its own, a cumbersome and lengthy process which many Republicans favor. Congress has the authority to admit states into the Union. None of the 37 states since the original Thirteen Colonies has been admitted by a Constitutional Amendment.
Here’s just a little more. In 2016, a referendum held in the District to make DC the 51st state was approved by 78% of the voters.
Delegate Holmes introduced H.R.51 - Washington, D.C. Admission Act last year. It passed (232-180) in the House of Representatives, was placed on the Senate’s calendar, but not voted on. This year she introduced H.R.51 - Washington, D.C. Admission Act again. This time it passed (216-208) in the House, on April 22, 2021. Its fate rests with the Senators, who now hold the slimmest possible Democratic margin. The Senate may or may not bring it up for discussion and vote.
Here’s the rest of the story. DC is historically overwhelmingly a Democratic stronghold. Why would any Republican worth his/her/their salt agree to add a Representative to the House, and two, count them, two Senators? All most probably would be Democrats.
In the Senate, Tom Carper (D-DE) has introduced a similar bill encouraging statehood. He has 44 co-sponsors, the most ever, but still short of the 51 needed for a simple majority.
So it comes to Party Politics, as usual. The residents of DC are disenfranchised. Granting statehood would most assuredly skew the Senate toward the Democratic Party.
I looked hard for arguments against statehood and could only find Republicans stating the obvious. https://congressionaldigest.com/pros-cons-of-d-c-statehood/
In 2020, when the Admission Act passed out of the House, Mitch McConnell said he would not take up the measure in the Senate. This year, 2021, he’s not in charge.
-—stay curious! (and speak up)