The Common Good

Tea Party Protests and Taxation Without Representation

100409-dc-voteWell, it looks like some folks are coming to the District of Columbia this April 15 to protest under the "tea party" banner. Unless they are coming to express their love for Oolong, I guess they are opposed to "taxation without representation" -- but, apparently, these folks are blind to the irony that the District, home to over half a million Americans, has been without voting representation in Congress for over 200 years. (Thanks to Sojo's own Rev. Jen Kottler for pointing out this irony in the current issue of Sojourners).

Wouldn't it be nice if the mainstream news media called the tea party on this? They just might do that if enough people ask them to! If you care about the principle of "one person, one vote," or about the English language (in particular, the word "representation"), I invite you to take five minutes to call or e-mail your favorite national or local news outlet (contact info below).

Ask them, in any stories about "tea party" demonstrations this April 15, to ask the tea party folk if they support voting rights for DC - and, if not, what part of "taxation without representation" they don't understand.

**** News Contact Info ****

Pick your favorite of the news outlets below, or call a different outlet of your choice!

ABC: various news programs e-mailable from this page.

CNN: Click here.

CBS: weeknight news: evening@cbsnews.com, (212) 975-3247

Fox news: 1-888-369-4762; various shows' e-mails here.

New York Times: nytnews@nytimes.com,1-888-NYT-NEWS

NPR: Click here or call (202) 513-3232

Washington Post: national@washpost.com, 202-334-7410

[Apologies to NBC lovers - couldn't readily find their contact info.]

P.S. The DC protest is organized by Dick Armey's organization "Freedomworks," whose agenda includes such deeply grassroots causes as fighting against net neutrality (i.e., fighting for your ISP's right to censor which sites you see, renting your eyeballs to the highest bidder). The group also stands for "asbestos lawsuit reform." As far as I can tell, Dick Armey did not take any action for DC voting rights when he served in the House (from 1985-2003); from 1993-2005 he was House Majority Leader, and presumably could have helped get a DC enfranchisement bill out of committee had he wanted to. But, hey, there's no time like the present!

Elizabeth Palmberg

portrait-elizabeth-palmbergElizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners.

P.S. I've had several responses to this that reference the Constitution, so I just wanted to say that, while legal scholars including Kenneth Starr agree that the Constitution does not bar Congress from extending House voting rights to DC, tea party folk may also wish to consider article 1 of the Constitution: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts, and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." If one does not like the taxes one's representatives have chosen, then one (except in the District) is free to vote for someone else.

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