-The Witzelsucht Memorandum-

WHAT? WIT MEMO AGAINST DC voting rights?!?

On October 16, the SUPREME COURT refused to review a US District Court decision that turned thumbs down on two suits demanding congressional voting rights for DC residents.  When the lower court issued its decision last spring, WIT MEMO stood up and cheered. From the May 2000 issue of Snap Pop!, here's-


DC CONGRESSMEN? WIT MEMO VOTES NO, THANK YOU!

As a taxpaying, never-convicted, adult US citizen FORBIDDEN BY LAW from voting for members of Congress, WIT MEMO gladly disclaims any responsibility for the shenanigans regularly foisted off on the paying public by the ignoble assemblage of four-flushers and jackanapes composing what MARK TWAIN liked to call America's only distinctly criminal class.

Thus was WIT MEMO relieved that the U.S. District Court recently upheld the nearly 200-year-old prohibition on congressional voting rights for us 700-thousand-odd hoodooed residents of America's last plantation, the District of Columbia. SO if those pontificating Pecksniffs want to fritter away our hard-earned greenbacks on such diversions as:

-delaying for years the confirmation of judges and ambassadors who check the wrong boxes on their ballots or sport wood for folks with the same kind of plumbing;

-sending auditors overseas to ensure that international relief agencies in impoverished backwaters aren't spending even their own dough giving the 411 on the wrong kinds of birth control;

-trying to trip up the Cummander-in-Chief over what he said about whether he felt up a zaftig young gal and stuck his salary hook down her bloomers, and who gave whom some crummy gifts;

-expelling windbag after-hours oratories before empty chambers on CSPAN, an art perfected by sorely-missed nutbar ROBERT DORNAN;

-knocking each other over rushing to cram as many federal spending projects as possible into their home districts (it was said of the late SCOOP JACKSON that if he managed to get one more military base built in Washington the state would sink into the sea);

-debating folderol like resolutions honoring this moron or that numb skull, and trying to one-up each other proposing ceremonial acts condemning racism (now THERE'S a bold, original stand) . . . so long as the racism emanates from the other end of the political spectrum;

-winging off on junkets to corners of the world as likely to resemble vacation paradises as they are hot spots and tinder boxes;

-reflexively gainsaying each other's patriotism and human worth;

-and, worst of all, trying to outlaw WIT MEMO's plan to market charcoal briquets and fireplace logs imprinted with the Stars 'n' Stripes . . .

. . . then at least we have the comfort of knowing that they're not doing it with WIT MEMO's say-so.

The court's decision, in a suit by seventy-five DC residents apparently not content with being let off the hook, seems like pretty much a no-brainer, since the Constitution calls for the election of Congressmen by the people of "the several states," and DC ain't no state. Still, the court acknowledged the inequity of disenfranchising DC denizens, who fight in wars and get shaken down by the IRS like everyone else. Even Republican Virginia Congressman TOM DAVIS conceded in a Washington Post op-ed that the DCers' "moral case was bulletproof," though the letter of the law wasn't on our side.

Davis then trotted out the shopworn list of snowball-in-hell remedies, like a constitutional amendment, DC statehood, and letting DC vote with Maryland, but must have been a mite distracted, 'cause he managed to miss the obvious solution, the compelling solution, the ONLY solution:

You keep your damn vote, and give us back our money.

WIT MEMO is given to understand that folk in U.S. territories similarly bereft of congressional representation -- places like Puerto Rico, Guam, and maybe those bits of South Pacific coral where we got a little careless with Uranium some years back -- don't have to cough up federal income taxes. No vote, no tax. Simple solutions kick ass. Congressman Davis, who on God's green earth does WIT MEMO have to sleep with to wangle a sweetheart deal like that?

But one of the solutions Davis touched on -- incorporating DC with Maryland -- eerily echoes a perennial pet project of some West-of-the-park secessionist crackpots who've long advocated peeling upper North West away from the rest of the District and stuffing it into Montgomery County.

WIT MEMO says this would be a BIG MISTAKE.

For starters, beer would cost too much, as anyone who's ever swung by a Rockville Pike package store is painfully aware, owing to byzantine distributorship regulations said to be among the most burdensome in the country. Beer is the staff of life and the basis of all civilization; it was just to grow a steady supply of the ingredients that homo sapiens eighty-sixed the hunter-gatherer gig and commenced tilling the soil, with organized society just a fringe benefit. Good suds are a big enough part of the WIT MEMO budget as it is; the last thing we need is to dig even deeper for the privilege of being periodically hectored with campaign literature and push polls. And the robbery isn't confined to hops 'n' barley: a few years back drivers entering Maryland on River Road were confronted by signs in front of houses reading, "WARNING: HIGH TAX ZONE." WIT MEMO doesn't know what that brouhaha was all about, but we're pretty sure we should think twice about hooking up with a county whose residents advertise their pride in their sky-high taxes on the front lawn. For all the press given to DC's allegedly high taxes you'd never know that Maryland property taxes are two to three times higher. Maryland, "The Free State?" FEE State is more like it.

Then there's the eclat: Bunking in the capital of the last remaining stupor power and one of the world's most recognizable cities (especially one celebrated as much for its perfidy as its profundity, for its former Mayor as much as for its monuments), is a sure-fire attention-getter anywhere on the globe. You don't get that kind of high-octane conversational mileage hailing from Dranesville, and many of you suburbanites out there have claimed DC domicile while vacationing in foreign lands . . . you have, haven't you? Liars.

FINALLY, it'll work a major hardship on commuters. WIT MEMO has the ideal commute, just six motorcycle miles down Embassy Row, through the broad, sweeping turns of Rock Creek Parkway, and then along the river and past the monuments. But annex DC to Maryland, and we'll be hiking in all the way from Montgomery County!

And Statehood? Please. City-states just plain haven't worked worth a darn since the salad days of ATHENS and SPARTA (don't even mention the former FREE CITY OF DANZIG). And those who'd willingly swap the dream of getting Uncle Sucker's hands out of their pockets for an extra star on the flag and new license plates clearly lack the sound judgment and discretion that midwifing a brand new state demands. 'Nuff said!

Postscript: In the months following that decision, some of the same ilk that brought the suits, not content to crawl home and lick their wounds away from the public eye, channeled their misguided energies into a sour-grapes campaign to emblazon DC license plates with the sarcastic motto "TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" . . . as if that's a point of pride! Last time we checked, license plates were supposed to boast a state's GOOD points ("DC: THERE'S TREES ALRIGHT" . . . "LOOK MA, NO SKYSCRAPERS!" ) And that slogan's just too long for a license plate; with its unheard-of 29 letters eclipsing even South Dakota's "GREAT PLACES, GREAT PEOPLE," you'd have to get halfway up a driver's ass to read the damn thing. In the June Snap Pop! WIT MEMO predicted that Congress, which has the last say-so on Anything District, would put the kibosh on THAT deal faster than you can say "last plantation." We were dead wrong, and the plates are set to make their appearance with nary a whisper of complaint from an Istook or a Delay. Perhaps our Capitol overseers, some not the sharpest knives in the drawer, took "taxation without representation" as an astute appraisal of our elected City Council.

Postscript II: In an October 18 POST op-ed, MARK PLOTKIN, WAMU political commentator, gadfly, and failed council candidate bemoaned AL GORE's total lack of interest in the DC disenfranshisement, a logical consequence of Dems taking the DC vote for granted. Plotkin proposed that DC's three presidential electors cast blank ballots in the electoral college, and do so until Democrat presidential candidates take up the cause.

Lemme get this straight: Plotkin proposes to redress the subversion of DC residents' congressional voting rights by . . . by . . . subverting their presidential voting rights?!? Girl, it don't make no sense!

Don't get us wrong . . . we have nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Plotkin. When it comes to knowing the "ins" and "outs" of DC politics and government, he's right up there near the top of the heap, not all that far behind TOM SHERWOOD and former Loose Lips KEN CUMMINS. But electors should do their job and vote for the people that we told them to vote for, thank you. They're not elected to think.

Post-Postscript: This last August, WIT MEMO, longtime DC resident and former DC government employee under MAYOR BARRY, the son of a native Washingtonian and McKinley High grad, abandoned the District for, or all places, the hinterlands of Montgomery County.  Whatever moral authority we ever had to pontificate on DC affairs just went into the toilet. Think that'll stop us? Guess again!

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