The DC Mindset — A License Plate Story

I recently visited Washington D.C.  I rode the Metro, visited several Smithsonian Museums, walked along the Mall and checked out several monuments. I particularly like the WWII Monument and the Jefferson.  A great trip.  I will return.

This trip to DC had a bit of odd thrown in too.  The license plate slogan is a perfect example of DC’s odd mindset.

Most states brag about themselves in their license plates, not DC.  Ohio and North Carolina both claim the Wright Brothers.  Ohio’s plate  – Birthplace of Aviation, North Carolina’s – First in Flight. Idaho has Famous Potatoes, West Virginia is Wild and Wonderful and you can Live Free or Die in New Hampshire.  Minnesota has 10,000 Lakes and Alaska is the Frontier State.  Several states throw in tourism web addresses.

What does DC say on their plate?   Taxation without representation. Yep, the folks in DC are whining because the founding fathers stiffed them when they wrote the US Constitution.  What was James Madison thinking?  And Thomas Jefferson too?  But is DC really getting stiffed?  It is true that only states are allowed to have congressional delegations and DC is not a state.

Should it be a state?

It’s pretty small.

Washington, DC

That’s right, just 68.3 square miles.  And most of the people that live in the Washington DC area don’t live in the Federal Capitol.  The Washington DC metro area has a population of about 5 million but only about 600,000 actually live in DC.

The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution gave DC residents the right to vote for President (DC gets 3 electoral votes).  It fares better than American Territories (American Samoa, The US Virgin Islands) and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.  They don’t get to vote for President.

Maybe the founding fathers did it on purpose.   DC gets lots of really great stuff because it is the seat of government.   All the museums are free as is the National Zoo.  And it has a great Metro, paid for with Federal Tax dollars.  One could argue that DC already has 100 senators and 435 congressmen living there.  And since they live there, they care about it.

DC is a City with a special status.  And it is getting it’s fare share of the federal pie which would indicate that it is getting represented.

DC gets 28% of it’s budget in federal grants.  That’s over 2 billion dollars a year in federal money.  Special grants paid for much of the Metro.  DC has the best subway in the US….and we all helped pay for it.  Imagine how much more they could grab with 2 senators and a congressman.

DC’s political status is not going to change.   DC’s demographics virtually assure that it will be a Democrat stronghold politically.   2 more Democrat senators will change the political landscape in ways that Republicans will not like.   Any  change in DC’s political makeup requires a change in the US Constitution.   That’s not going to happen (it was tried in the 1970’s and went nowhere)

What are the powers that be trying to accomplish with their license plate slogan?  You got me.  I have no idea.  It does say something about the Washington DC mindset.  They would rather complain than focus on the positive.

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