Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

February 27, 2009


Sam Smith

With magnificent irony, the US Senate has pacified the local capital establishment by approving a token vote for DC in the House - carefully balanced by a new and certain GOP vote in Utah. In doing so, however, the Senate included a clear statement that the capital is still a colony by also approving a major change in gun laws to be forced upon the city.

For over a century local and national politicians have used the prospect of a vote in the House to lessen the pressure for, in the early days, home rule and, later on, for statehood. In 1888, conservative newspaperman Theodore Noyes of the Washington Star launched a campaign for congressional representation while strongly opposing real democracy. Noyes wrote, "National representation for the capital community is not in the slightest degree inconsistent with control of the capital by the nation through Congress."

Noyes' view has been confirmed by the Democratic Senate, which made clear with its gun law amendment that a vote in the House doesn't alter the city's true colonial status at all. Instead, the city will continue to be run by what a political scientist in 1899 called a "representative aristocracy."

The energy and constituency for true democracy and self government have withered in the capital as a younger generation - trained in so many ways to accept symbolism as reality - has come into power. Personal status has submerged common goals and personal rights have become less important in a society that has been diligently voiding these rights over the past three decades. In DC, as elsewhere in this country, fewer and fewer even understand what freedom and democracy are about.


Anonymous Justice said...

Democracy means the people rule themselves...but Americans have become unwilling to fly the plane and just want to put it on auto-pilot as soon as it takes off.

The American Dream was the dream of freedom - but freedom from what is the question.

Freedom from tyranny is the answer: freedom from the tyranny of the money-powers in Europe is what our founders were all about.

Thanks to relentlessly regurgitated Right-Libertarian-Conservative BS ideology and the failure to see through fallacious arguments, the dream of freedom from the tyranny of wealthpower giants was lost, and now the people think America's dream was the dream of freedom to grow endlessly wealthy at the expense of the planet and human rights.

We have fallen far.

We fell - right after we were pushed. (Thanks again Milton Friedman.)

March 1, 2009 8:14 AM  

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