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DC Voting Rights Bill Dead Again

Hoyer is saying it’s not going to happen. They hate the Second Amendment that much, because you can bet this would have passed already without the gun rights amendment attached in the Senate.

30 Responses to “DC Voting Rights Bill Dead Again”

  1. Dann says:

    So… DC, as one of the most gun-restrictive AND violent city’s in the land… in the words of Dr. Phil, “So how’s that working for ya?”

    The residents of DC may be collectively too stupid to deserve a constitution-violating seat in the house of rep’s.

  2. rkh says:

    The democrats are waiting for Reid to lose his reelection. With Durbin or Schumer as majority leader, a “clean” senate bill with no gun language is much more likely.

  3. Ken says:

    “But council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8), who was wounded in a shooting at City Hall in 1977, spoke about the nine youths gunned down in Southeast Washington last month.”

    That’s nine people who tragically will never be able to have sex with Marion Barry, or sell him cocaine.

  4. beatbox says:

    This is why I will never join the NRA. The could care less about gun rights for DC citizens. Their position on the gun amendment is, and always has been a gift for Republicans to block the VRA.

    Need proof? Norton said she would accept the gun amendment which would leave DC with very generous gun laws.

    So the NRA, instead of declaring victory and urging members to vote for the bill, adds NEW changes to the gun laws concerning carry.

    Now, I support shall-issue, but why did they not just take the huge step forward they originally proposed? Because their play in this issue has nothing to do with gun rights.

  5. Pete says:

    Beatbox

    Last time I checked the residents of DC were US Citizens. They have all the same rights as a man in Montana. The NRA is just standing up for DC residents as they do elsewhere.

    And the NRA being for Republicans only? Have you checked out the Democratic Senate Majority Leader’s endorsement from the NRA? Reid is responsible for this, hell he even voted for the guns portion of the VRA. The NRA desperately needs him to be re-elected.

    It isn’t that the NRA is Republican only, its just that there are fewer Democrats who are pro-gun. Its a selection bias. Webb, Reid, and other Blue Dogs get NRA endorsements every year. But there are just a few of them who support gun rights, and plenty of Dems who don’t. Thus the NRA “appears” to be Republican leaning.

  6. beatbox says:

    Pete,

    I agree with your assessment of the NRA in general, but not as it applies to DC. The NRA pretty much drafted a bill that would have done away with most local gun laws. They said they would score the bill to ensure wide support for the amendment.

    Then, when there was a chance that the amendment would actually pass, they added more provisions.

    The NRA has shown i can be reasonable, and support legislation that will move the ball forward to higher goals. (look at Iowa).

    The “before and after” of DC gun laws would have been tremendous. No registration, no semi-auto ban…

    I did not say the NRA was for republicans only. In this case, however, it reeks like there was a deal made of support in exchange for the NRA cooperation with this amendment strategy.

  7. Sebastian says:

    I’m not sure what you’re getting at Beatbox, in terms of what NRA should do? The bill hasn’t had the gun language strengthened. It’s still the same amendment the Senate passed a while ago.

  8. beatbox says:

    No. It is not. Over the weekend an updated amendments were drafted that would have been introduced to the bill in the House.

  9. Sebastian says:

    Sorry… I didn’t notice that. Is it in Thomas? Let me check, but if you could provide a link I’ll look.

  10. beatbox says:

    I am still looking for it myself. Granted, this is just what EHN is saying right now so it must be taken with a giant grain of salt. But any changes to the gun amendment would have meant it had to go back to the Senate. And we all know no changes would be proffered without at least the tacit support of the NRA.

  11. Wolfwood says:

    Sometimes the price just isn’t right. For DC voting, conservatives/libertarians should be able to get something pretty big. Simply speeding up something that’s pretty much impending anyway isn’t all that great of a deal. It’s nice to be able to move things forward whenever possible, but we should save our better trade items for when we really need them.

    Besides, are we sure it’s dead and not just pining?

  12. beatbox says:

    Wolfwood,

    That should be rrelevant as far as the NRA is concerned. You and I are probably on different sides on the the DC vote issue, but the same side on gun rights. That is why it ticks me off whenever I hear that the NRA is a “single issue organization.” They should be pushing for gun rights for DC citizens regardless of the vehicle.

    Obviously, the gun amendment had little to do with restoring 2A rights to DC citizens, or else they would have been working the phones all week to urge Congress to pass the bill as is.

    Instead, when it looked like it actually was going to pass, they were fine for it to be changed into something that had no chance of passage.

    Sebastion, you have defended them on this issue in the past, but I don’t see how there is any explanation here other than the gun amendment is, and always has been just a “throw away” to thwart DC representation.

    Thank NRA.

  13. beatbox says:

    Also, after seeing the NRA’s actions on this, I have no faith that pro-gun for DC legislation will ever be introduced by itself or attached to a bill that can pass. They are just giving lip service to DC gun rights the same way many DC pols give lip service to wanting representation.

  14. Carl from Chicago says:

    Beathorse …

    http://yallpolitics.com/index.php/yp/post/22862/

    Childers: Fight to Restore Citizens’ Second Amendment Rights Not Over

    Washington, DC – U.S. Rep. Travis Childers (MS-01) released the following statement in response to the House of Representatives pulling legislation to end Washington, D.C.’s gun ban from the floor schedule:

    “I am deeply disappointed that upcoming legislation authored by myself and Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana to end D.C.’s unconstitutional gun ban has been pulled from the House’s floor schedule. However, this fight is not over. When, nearly two years ago, D.C.’s City Council defied a Supreme Court ruling to protect citizens’ right to bear arms, it violated the fundamental rights upon which this great country was founded. I remain committed to overturning D.C.’s gun ban – a critical step towards ensuring that these rights are permanently safeguarded for all Americans. I plan to move forward with introducing this important bipartisan legislation in the near future, and will urge leadership to bring our bill to the floor without delay.”

    The NRA has consistently supported Childers and his colleagues’ efforts to overturn Washington, D.C.’s gun ban, and are proponents of language included in a current draft of the Childers-Souder bill.

    Childers Press
    4/20/10

  15. beatbox says:

    “current draft”

  16. Sebastian says:

    It doesn’t make any sense for NRA to not want to pass the DC repeal. They are funding Heller II as far as I know, so either way they are still pursuing repeal. And legislative repeal is the safer route.

  17. Flight-ER-Doc says:

    Unless and until the Constitution is amended to allow voting representation for the District, any ‘law’ that Congress passes is just toilet tissue.

    The citizens of the several STATES get to have representatives that can vote….not districts, not territories, not possessions. And the way that elected representatives are allocated in the several states doesn’t permit some sort of arbitrage where we’ll trade you DC for another seat in Utah. Sorry, but the citizens of the DC don’t have the same rights as the citizens of Wyoming. If EHN wants to change that, she can get a legitimate member of the Congress to propose an Amendment, and if passed convince 2/3 of the both houses to agree, then convince 3/4 of the state legislatures to agree

    The reason the dems pulled this one is that the ONLY part of it that wasn’t unconstitutional were the gun law modifications for DC, since Congress has Article 1 Section 8 authority to ‘exercise exclusive legislation’.

    And frankly, it’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when an emergency room physician knows more about the Constitution of the United States, and cares more about it, than the US Congress.

  18. Geodkyt says:

    Doc,

    There is ONE way in which Congress can legislate voting rights for DC residents. By allowing them to vote as they did for years BEFORE Congress decided to remove their Congressional representation by legislation. (DC was ceded to Congress in 1790, and offically became the seat of government in 1800 when Congress relocated into the newly built city. It was only in 1801 that Congress stripped DC residents of Federal representation — including electoral representation).

    DC residents could be treated, in regards to Federal elections (both running for office and voting) as residents of teh state from which the land they are living was ceded. Since teh VA side was returned to Virginia before th Civil War, that would mean that DC residents would be considered MARYLAND residents for Federal elections.

    Writing the law so that it states as long as the 23rd Amendment provides direct electorial represenation, DC resdients would NOT be counted as Maryland residents for teh Presidential and Vice-Presidential elections would avoid any “double counting” on that score.

    THIS route would be acceptable, as it is merely the REVERSAL of a Congressional act. Congress’s authority to restore DC resident’s rights to vote in Maryland are exactly equal to their right to REMOVE that right in teh first place. Likewise, physical presense doesn’t encompass the whole and sole meaning of “resident” — ask any military servicemember stationed outside his home state of record.

    Additionally, I can see teh DC argument that they are being taxed without Federal representation right now. Puerto Rico, Guam, etc — these places don’t have COngressional representation either, but then, their inhabitants (who ARE ALSO US citizens) do not pay Federal income taxes either. I’m willing to let DC residents skate on taxes for the time they are deprived of representation.

    Now, to allow them DIRECT congressional representation would require (just as direct electoral representation required) a Constitutional amendment. As you point out, they are not AT THIS TIME, a resident of ANY state. If DC representation were to be granted via amendment, I would be willing to support a “semi state” status (one senator, representatives by apportionment), provided that same status was granted to any non-state territory where US citizenship is granted to any born there. . . like Guam and Puerto Rico. Then, everyone can pay their damned taxes, too.

  19. citizenw says:

    In this purported government “of the people, for the people, by the people, why does “We the people of the United States” mean that states and corporations can be represented, but over half a million real people cannot? There are two words for this: “Despotic Constitutionalism”.

    The central premise of our form of participatory government is that “just power derives from the consent of the governed”. Only in the case of DC, that premise has been abandoned, creating a caste of persons who are effectively political eunuchs, pariahs, who, though by both blood and place of birth (jus sanguinis and jus solis) are unrebuttably citizens of the nation, but are apparently not deemed to be “people of the United States”. So, presumably, they must fit some other category, perhaps something like sub-humans or aliens (foreigners or extraterrestrials)?

    Residents of DC belong to the nation in the sense of full membership, not in the sense of chattel property. Of the Amendments to the Constitution, a goodly number were addressed at problems arising from a failure in the initial Constitution to allow voting for other than propertied white males over 21. In a piecemeal fashion, amendments have gradually corrected that original deficiency.

    My own suggestions would be twofold:

    First, considering that DC residents technically do not reside in the fifty “United States”, we should treat them as we currently do other expatriates who live outside the United States, and allow each DC resident to declare affiliation or affinity with a state, and allow them to vote absentee in that state, like other expatriates.

    After all, the Constitution says “the PEOPLE of the several states” not “the RESIDENTS of the several states. Look up the meaning of the word “of”.

    Residents of DC –ARE– the people of the several states. They are part and parcel, progeny and posterity of those same founders who pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to preserve our Liberty. They belonged to the original thirteen colonies, which cannot be said of Guam, Samoa, or Puerto Rico. Nor, for that matter, of Hawaii, Alaska, …nor even Wyoming, which has a smaller population than DC.

    The people of DC are certainly not the people of the Asian Steppes, nor of the Arctic tundra, nor of the Australian outback, nor of the Argentinian pampas; they, like other American expatriates, are the people of the several [American] states, regardless of where they currently reside.

    The second issue regarding DC is the degree of local autonomy. Currently, a simple majority is all that is necessary for Congress to rule with Absolute Power over DC “in all cases whatsoever.” And we all know that power corrupts, and Absolute Power corrupts Absolutely [case in point, here].

    If Congress DOES need to maintain the last word over DC, at least the exercise of such Absolute Power ought to require support from broad national consensus, as demonstrated by a requirement for a super-majority of both Houses to impose that Absolute Power. What happened to the central premise on which our country is otherwise based, that “just power derives from the consent of the governed”?

  20. Geodkyt says:

    I was with you until you implied that Constitutional protections only need to be provided for people who live in teh orginal 13 Colonies. The residents of Puerto Rico, teh US Virgin Isles, and Guam are just as much citizens of the US as the residents of DC (i.e., “native born”), and just as much residents of any state (i.e., “none”).

    Generally speaking, they have NEVER lived in a state — just as those “islanders” never have for the most part.

    Frankly, unlike the island residents of PR or GU, a DC resident of DC can vote (or run) in Maryland elections (including Congressional races) by the simple expedient of moving about 2 miles — at which point, their taxes go down, their safety goes up, public services are improved, etc. All while still readily able to continue to work in DC (which has higher pay rates than the surrounding region, in general).

    People (aside from military personnel stationed there) live in DC becuase they WANT to.

    As for rewriting Congressional authority which has been in the Constitution from its inception, to alter it from a duty of the legislative branch of the federal government, into a vague “at large” national opinion poll, would require an amendment. Don’t like the way your Congressional leaders are handling DC? Vote them out of office, and vote in someone who WILL do what you want. Absent that, you HAVE the “broad national concensus” you claim to want — most people are just fine with Congress running the show. For damned certain, ALL expirements with DC Home Rule have been utter failure so far — why expect a change now?

    We can settle the DC voting problem in one of two ways —

    1. Legislatively, by restoring them to state residency; either Maryland (as was the case before 1801, and is basically now the case for the dependants of active duty servicemembers residing in a particular state), or giving them the same residency option active duty servicemembers get (they can claim state residency in any state that will have them). The same legislation MUST prohibit them from voting for President or Vice President as Maryland residents (they would be casting their ballots in the presidential contest as DC residents) so long as the 23rd Amendment is still in force. Otherwise, they get a serious electoral advantage — “one man, 2.85 votes” — compared to the rest of Maryland.

    2. Constitutionally, via amendment. Any such amendment ought to consider ALL similar federal enclaves where people enjoy native citizenship, but not state residency (including possessions and territories). I have ZERO problem with allowing each of these locales up to one senator each (they aren’t “states”, after all) and representatives in proportion to their population — but this must be done in conjunction with recinding the 23rd Amendment (so DC doesn’t get “bonus” electoral votes for president and vice-president — see above) while adding that these “non-state” areas get one elector for each senator and representative as well. One single amendment to handle it all, so it passes or fails as a unit.

    There is no third choice, no half-measure that doesn’t violate the Constitution.

    Now, if Congress also wished to give DC residents the same tax benefits that people in the insular territories get (i.e., no income tax liability), they could do that legislatively as well. Of course, those insular territories don’t get ANY electors in the Electoral College, either, as the 23rd Amendment only applies to DC. . . ), they could do that, in compensation until actual COngressional representation

  21. citizenw says:

    @Geodkyt:

    I see very little to disagree with in what you are saying.

    I will point out, however, that constitutional protections of voting rights are not, and never have been, equal for all citizens. This is perhaps one of the greatest oversights in our constitution; failure to provided for a universal right to vote.

    This is why we needed amendments to assure equality in voting for black men, women, and young adults.

    We certainly CAN rectify the situation for DC (and the territories). However (in the case of DC at least), it has been well over 200 years, and we HAVEN’T. Time is running out.

    One other small difference between DC and the other territories; They can presumably decide (a la Puerto Rico) whether and to what extent to associate themselves with the 50 states. DC and the states are irrevocably committed to the Union (based on the results of the Civil War, secession is not an option for them).

    I would have no problem relocating the captial of the nation to an uninhabited 10 mile square 20 miles north of Belle Fourche, SD, ( the center of the country) and prohibiting the erection of any permanent structures, and prohibiting the presence of any lobbyists or other extraneous personnel within the boundaries. Legislative sessions would be much more focused if legislators were sleeping in tents and using porta-potties. Maybe we should retroactively apply those to DC.

  22. citizenw says:

    I count (so far) five or six possible ways (with variations) to solve the voting rights issue for DC (and the other territories):

    1. Retrocession to Maryland (and variations thereto);
    2. Statehood for DC
    3. Constitutional Amendment regarding voting rights and representation
    4. At-large voting rights (a la other expatriates)
    5. At large “district and territories”, each voting as separate jurisdictions, with representatives by population and one senator per jurisdiction.
    6. Join all the territories and the District in one “state-like” jurisdiction for voting purposes, with representatives and two Senators for the combined “state-like” juridsiction.

    All of the above assumes repeal of the 23rd amendment, passage of necessary other amendments, and Federal taxes would be paid by all voting jurisdictions.

  23. citizenw says:

    One more short comment: In spite of the Taxation without Representation” motto, it’s NOT (only) about the taxation.

    It’s about being Governed (“in all cases whatsoever”) without Consent. The last time that was attempted was by the British Parliament with reference to the 13 colonies, in 1766 (see The British Declaratory Act of 1766). I think we all know how that turned out.

    “When [] man governs himself, that is self-government; but when he governs himself and also governs another man, that is more than self-government — that is despotism.

    A. Lincoln

  24. citizenw says:

    “…a DC resident [] can vote (or run) in Maryland elections (including Congressional races) by the simple expedient of moving about 2 miles — People (aside from military personnel stationed there) live in DC becuase they WANT to.”

    Have you SEEN the DC area traffic lately? Are you aware that DC has by FAR the highest ratio of daily commuters to residents of any city in the country (check out the Census stats on that)? Can you imagine what would happen if several hundred thousand commuters were added to that? It seems that many people have taken your advice to just move to the suburbs so that they can vote. That advice is simply not do-able for every DC resident who desires (and deserves) to vote.

  25. citizenw says:

    “..no man is good enough to govern another man without that other’s consent. I say this is the leading principle, the sheet-anchor of American republicanism….Allow all the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only, is self-government.”

    A. Lincoln

  26. Geodkyt says:

    Yeah, my wife and I both have “NAVDIST WASH” stickers on our cars (both of are Navy contractors). It’s 60 miles, from Virginia through Maryland, on the shortest route.

    I have *some* appreciation for the DC traffic situation. My last assignment was next to the Navy Yard, in SE. But we live where we live because we aren’t willing to put up with outrageous taxes, rampant corruption, unbelieveable local government waste and inefficiency, high crime, and all the other “benefits” of living in DC. Neither of us grew up where we live — my wife was raised in Tyson’s Corner (back when it was still rural), and lived in Minnesota, Arlington, and Annapolis before coming here. We moved here to take the contracting gigs — it wouldn’t have been hard to find spaces closer, where she has family living.

    Commuting is a dream compared to actually LIVING in that shithole. And luckily, my current assignment doesn’t have me commuting to DC on a daily basis anymore. Just “as needed” to Southeast, usually on extremely short notice in the middle of rush hour.

    Of course, DC is so proud of their wonderful mass transit system. The one that extends MILES into Maryland and Virginia. At one time, I used that system, until I realized that even with the traffic, it was faster, cheaper, and easier to just drive all the way in. Even though I had to find my own parking space (work wouldn’t pay for it).

    However, all that is irrelevant. It’s not like the choice is “live in DC and avoid commuting” or “live outside DC and trek across the desert with camels or spend all day in traffic.” In many cases, it would mean moving to a location where rent is lower, taxes are lower, and work is CLOSER. DC really isn’t that big, and there is no concrete wall surrounding it, forcing everyone through Checkpoint Charlie. Cross the street in many areas, and you’re not in DC anymore.

    Driving to and from a particular spot in DC from outside DC is usually easier than driving between two spots in DC — many is teh time the easiest way for me to go from where I was to where I needed to be was to pop out of DC, drive around, and re-enter near where I wanted to be. Just like getting around most major cities.

    Of course, I grew up in Hampton Roads, and have (at times) on BOTH sides of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (often working on the other side). A 10 mile commute that takes over an hour in the summer is often NORMAL. God help you if someone breaks down in the tunnel. Opening the Montitor-Merrimack Tunnel only helped a little bit, and primarily only for people going to downtown Norfolk or all the way to Pungo. Try daily commuting from Norfolk to Williamsburg sometime — it’s a shorter distance than my drive to DC, but a Hell of a lot harder.

    Unlike DC, the Hampton Roads road network is SEVERELY constrained by geography — if you want out of HR you have four (and ONLY four reasonable choices):

    1. I-64 (continually under construction at choke points since the 1980’s). From VA Beach through Norfolk, across the bridge tunnel to Hampton and Newport News, through Williamsburg, all the way to Richmond before you get to 95.

    2. Through VA Beach to US 13 to the Eastern Shore (Delmarva Penninsula), across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. In the last few years, they actually added another span — before that it was a single 2-lane (1 lane each way, no divider) span. . . Pretty drive. LONG drive, too. Miserable during the summer.

    3. Fight your way to and then through Newport News city street traffic to US 17 across the York river to Gloucester. Pretty drive once you get clear of Gloucester — but you have merely swapped I-64 for US 17, and you get to go up the Middle Penninsula to I-95 in Fredericksburg, or US 301 in Port Royal (just south of the Potomac). Pretty drive. LONG drive, too.

    4. Head south (if you’re on the Penninsula, you have only THREE crossing points, two of which take you through the worst traffic, the third is a ferry to Surry way the Hell out in rural nowhere, to the south of Williamsburg. . . of course, you have to GET to WIlliamsburg first. . . ), and link up with 460. You can take that to Petersburg, around I-95. You can also use it to get to NC’s Outer Banks, except in summer or when a hurricane is approaching. Pretty much useless for anything else.

    Now, that’s the traffic situation in an integrated metropolitan area that has a population of 1.8 million people (in 2000 — it’s expected to top 2 million in 2010 numbers), not DC’s roughly 600,000. Sure, the average population density is lower — but that’s because a lot of the surface area is water and you have long stretches of realtively open area between poultaion concentrations. . . but also between alternate routes.

    I don’t find the traffic VOLUME of DC to be nearly teh same problem — it’s the STIUPIDITY of the drivers. . . and I’ve noted that the really stupidly dangerous ones are more likely to have DC plates than VA or MD plates. (Not to say VA and MD don’t have our own special groups of stupid drivers.)

  27. Geodkyt says:

    Old Abe’s words would ring a lot less hollow if it wasn’t for the fact that he could have reinstated DC voting rights through franchise retrocession at ANY time he wanted by just asking Congress — he could have rammed it through, and it would have provided him with more weight to counter Northern Democrats. (Especially after freeing all the DC slaves in 1862, and taking into account the huge population growth during the war.)

    Or his use of Federal troops to keep border states from even debating secession. (Sending in Federal troops AFTER a state voted for secession is arguably valid, from the Union point of view — premptively doing it was not.)

  28. citizenw says:

    It says “a MORE perfect Union”, not a perfect Union. No one man (even Lincoln) can be blamed for our collective deficiencies.

    I am willing to consider any argument, but those that appear unprincipled, tendentious, tenuous, and/or deliberately obstructionist tend to get briefer consideration.

    I’ve only been in the Norfolk/Hampton Roads/Newport News area a couple of times, but since it’s your hometown, I won’t categorize it as you have DC, as a “s-hole”… at least not to your face. ;-) BTW, I’ve lived in DC 35 years, now.

  29. citizenw says:

    “Cross the street in many areas, and you’re not in DC anymore.”

    I am personally familiar with that. But on one side of the street you can vote and be represented, and on the other you can’t. What sense does that make? Given today’s transportation and communications technology, what sense does an arbitrary 10 miles make? Ten miles by horseback in the Founders’ era translates to more like 100 miles in today’s transportation era, and that’s not considering electronic communications. If DC were to defy the Congress, it would be quite simple to stand off 25 miles in the USS Missouri and shell them; or bomb them with smart bombs, or send over some drones. Today’s federal government is not the “weak sister” it may have been in 1790.

    The DC of today is rightly described as an arbitrary, artificial anachronism. It is an eminently solvable problem. Obstructionism is the biggest obstacle.

  30. citizenw says:

    A CITY WITHOUT CITIZENS

    A Speech [by Wendell Philips Stafford, a federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia] at the Dinner to the President of the United States, Given by the Residents of Washington, under the Auspices of the Board of Trade and the Chamber of Commerce, at the New Willard Hotel in Washington, May 8, 1909.

    “But I hear it said, “The people of the District do not care for suffrage.” Well, all I can say to that is this. If the people of the District of Columbia do not really care to have a part in the government of this splendid country, they do not deserve to have it, and nobody need fear it will be thrust upon them. But I cannot believe that statement.
    [ ]

    I cannot believe that the human heart has changed. I cannot believe that principles have lost their power. I cannot believe that the deep instincts that built up this wonderful fabric of free government have died out here in the very seat of its majesty, and that here alone the “bright consummate flower” of liberty has gone to seed. There is no doubt that they need quickening. There is no doubt that they have sunk into the torpor of faculties disused. But hold before their eyes the hope of that which I am now describing and you shall see whether self-respect and the desire for self-government are dead.

    Sir, if I had it in my power tonight, to dispose of this matter as I would, do you know what I would do? I would not change the constitution. I would not give the people of the district suffrage. What I would do is this. I would set to their dry hearts the flame of that old Promethean torch, the love of liberty. I would fill them with divine unrest at their condition. I would set beside that condition a picture of the dignity and power they might enjoy as real citizens of their country. I would move them first to desire and then to demand their portion of our heritage. I would nerve them to toil for it and fight for it through years of bitter opposition—and then at last, when the agitation had created a new Washington—when four hundred or five hundred thousand people were calling as with one mighty voice for the great prize of representative government—then— then I would bestow it on them. And, sir, I believe that is exactly what the god of time will do.

    A city of the dumb! Mr. Chairman, I have heard you speak of a little village on an island off the New England coast, inhabited entirely by deaf mutes. They live unto themselves. They marry and intermarry and rear children who are dumb as they. They go about their task but speak no word. The busy hum of life goes on around them; the shuttles of the world’s activities fly to and fro; but into the growing web they weave no strand. Sir, I will not extend the parallel. It is too obvious and too painful to be drawn. But that is not the Washington that shall be. Only let the agitation begin. Let it start here tonight. Why not make the occasion historic? Let every true son of Washington, native or adopted, go out from this feast strengthened and heartened for a long enlistment. Let Mm know for once in his life the glory of being possessed by a grand idea—the sublime enthusiasm of being lost in absolute devotion to a great cause. Let them meet and join hands and stir one another’s hearts, quicken one another’s minds and sustain one another’s courage. Let it go on. It will meet with opposition; it will meet with ridicule; it will meet with censure; it will take years, it may take many—but it can have but one possible outcome if the sons of Washington are worthy of the name they bear.”

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