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50 states is just fine, thank you very much
The announcement was made Monday that Congress would hold a hearing deciding whether or not Washington D.C. will become a state or not. According to statehood.dc.gov, the primary reason for this request is that residents of the district must follow all of the responsibilities of being a United States citizen but hold none of the rights.
D.C. has no voting rights in Congress. To twist the knife even further into the residents’ sides, they pay more taxes than 22 separate states and are large enough to be its own state. From a logistical point of view, it would make sense to make Washington D.C. a state.
From a constitutional standpoint, this would be a mistake. Reporter Mikaela Lefrak writes in her explanation of why D.C. statehood has faced resistance that making this district the 51st state is fundamentally unconstitutional.
One point Lefrak also mentions is that Congress, by law of the United States Constitution, does not have the sole power to create a new state. The Constitution says that in order for a district to become a state, the states the district is currently occupying must agree to change their borders.
Washington D.C. is a part of both Virginia and Maryland. This means that both states will have to agree to alter their borders if D.C. is to become its own state. Should one of the states decide they do not wish to do this, D.C. will not become a state. D.C. could potentially change the economic or political standing of both states, so if that is not in the state’s best interest, they could say “no” to D.C. statehood at any given moment.
The biggest argument against statehood for Washington D.C. is the fact that the nation’s capital is meant to be located in a district, not a state. This ideal has dated back to the creation of America.
“The reason D.C. should never be a state is the same reason that the capital moved to D.C. in the first place: so that the federal government would not be under the undue control or influence of a “host” state. The Founders moved from Philadelphia in part because they wanted the federal government to bear no unfair allegiance to the state that housed them,” writes reporter Akhil Rajasekar in a PrincetonTory article.
This is a mindset I completely agree with. When discussing matters of the country, there should not be a host state. This helps prevent bias. Lefrak supported this statement when she explained that the Constitution even requires the federal government to be housed by a district.
If a state were to be the home of the federal government, there is no telling how reliable that state would be. At the end of the day, state representatives share their political needs and desires in regards to what they believe is best for their state. How can we trust the nation’s government when it is primarily being hosted by a singular state and not by a neutral district?
It’s like a sports game. When a team is in their hometown and wins, the other team, or their fans, often complain that the referees rig for the home team. They argue that having legions of fans in the stand is unfair in regards to morale. Despite complaints arising, nothing serious occurs. After all, it’s just a sports game.
If this same logic is applied to housing the federal government in a state, opposing complaints could become legitimate. The decisions made by the federal government determine how we live on a financial and political level. Any rumor of bias or a “hometown advantage” in this context could not be brushed aside. This country would go up in flames.
At the end of the day, the risk is not worth making D.C. a state. The citizens of D.C. have their hearts in the right place, but if they want a change in their lives, they should move to an actual state. The country needs a neutral district for large decisions, and D.C. is that district.