There has been a push in recent months to have our nation’s capital redefined as its own state. Our nation was set up to allow the addition of new states from the very beginning, and serious thought is being given to the idea that this federal district should be given this new status. There are several compelling reasons to approve such a change, but there are also many reasons why this is not a good idea.
First, our nation’s capital is supposed to be a place that is apart from the other states. Our federal system is supposed to be a safeguard for enforcement of Constitutional laws and as an impartial mediator between the states. If D.C. becomes a state itself, this important distinction will be lost as the new state begins to participate in our system of government as an equal player rather than a separate entity.
Second, the reasons behind the push to do this aren’t exactly pure. It is well known that the population in the capital leans heavily to the left, and the true reason this is being proposed has nothing to do with “right to govern” or “taxes” or the other many arguments being made. The impetus for this change is mostly about the desire for the Democratic party to add electoral votes to their side of the election process. It is understandable that they want to do this, but does that desire add up to justifying removing the impartiality the capital is supposed to embody?
Third, there are other territories of the United States that have been rejected many times for statehood. This has primarily been because they haven’t reached what Congress considers the minimum population to become established as a state. There is of course the electoral votes issue, but that varies between which territory is being discussed. Not all US territories lean left. All that said, it would be highly unfair to admit D.C. as its own state while leaving the territories hanging out to dry.
Fourth, if we allow D.C. to become its own state based solely on the citizens’ desire to make the change, then other movements to break up states based on political affiliation will have much more room to become viable. Washington D.C. was originally part of Virginia and Maryland, but land was set aside to establish the capital as a separate entity. If we are going to say that the capital should be a state, then the original law dividing that land should be abolished and the land should revert to the individual states prior to any vote on the issue. To do otherwise would be unfair to other areas of the country whose desire to break off into their own states has been resisted by the states to which they currently belong.
Lastly, if we are to retain our appearance as the most prestigious nation in the world, it is important to have a place in our country that is viewed as a separate, federal entity to our allies and enemies. The power of Washington D.C. around the globe is partly due to the fact that it is viewed as separate from the rest of the states. As a federal district, it has the clout to be the focal point of the world as the spearhead of our nation. As a state, it is simply another place in America.
It is possible to come up with more reasons for or against this idea, but the issues listed here seem compelling to me as reasons why we should leave the United States capital the way it is. If we arbitrarily start changing things out of political convenience, we open a Pandora’s Box of issues further down the road that we may not be prepared for. It is important to consider all aspects of the changes we want to make before committing to them, as the unintended consequences of our decisions can have devastating effects.
What do you think of this movement? Should D.C. be its own state, or should it be a distinct entity? What are the pros and cons of the idea? There are many arguments for and against, but we must think long and hard about making this change. The wrong choice could lead to serious problems, and we have enough of those already.
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