The front pages and headlines over the past few weeks have been filled with targeted vandalism and toppled statues, including those of our country’s Founding Fathers — including Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. These aren't the only efforts to tear down physical representations of our history. This week, radical activists and their allies in the Democratic Party are targeting another tangible legacy of the Founders' vision: the federal district of Washington, D.C.
Last week, House Democrats, in typical partisan fashion, rushed to the floor H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act. And, as is so often the case under Speaker Pelosi, the bill blatantly ignores more than just the plain text of the Constitution, it completely disregards the history and the reasoning behind it.
When the Founders gathered in Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention of 1787, they had a difficult task in front of them. Through heated debates and many compromises, they had to come up with a national government that would govern and hold together 13 sovereign states, each of which was wary of the others' ambitions. The Founders were explicitly clear that the seat of our federal government was to be established in a special federal enclave, outside any one state’s influence or control, and would be governed by all the sovereign states together. This area became the District of Columbia that we know today.
Furthermore, recent events have shown that the federal government is required to step in to defend American citizens and institutions even today in the District of Columbia. When D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser failed recently to put an end to the chaos in the streets of nation’s capital, it was U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr who ultimately restored order to the area surrounding the White House. The District has been plagued for decades by mismanagement of local politicians, and this most recent example demonstrates clearly that it is unable to become a state in its own right and govern itself totally without federal involvement.
History is clear, and we ought to learn from it rather than tear it down. The current D.C. statehood proposal before Congress may briefly appease the Left’s radical activists, but it completely ignores the importance of the District of Columbia’s status under our constitutional system. Putting aside the cold, hard fact that making the District into a state requires a constitutional amendment rather than a simple act of Congress, doing so in any form would accomplish the exact opposite of what the Framers intended for the seat of our national government.
To read more of my thoughts on D.C. Statehood published in Newsweek, click here, and to watch my statement in front of the House Rules Committee, click here.