Letter to the editor: A racist argument

To the editor:

Like the honeysuckle infestation behind my house, some things are hard to eradicate. An invasive species, I battle them continuously, and they just keep popping back up.

And, so with racism. The Journal-World published yet another variation on the theme, this writ by Cal Thomas. Giving statehood to the District of Columbia he denounces as “the latest of many cynical and highly political moves” by the Democratic led House of Representatives, describing the district as “a state of corruption, crime and dysfunction.”

Let’s start by disposing of his constitutional objection. Giving citizens of the district representation in Congress would, he claims, violate Art. I, Section 8, Clause 17, which authorizes a district “not exceeding 10 miles square” to be controlled by Congress. But how so? He never says how reducing the space occupied by the district below the maximum could violate the Constitution. That’s subterfuge.

Rather, his real objection is that this overwhelmingly Black community, that would be named in honor of former slave and Abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, would be given representation by two seats in the Senate and one in the House. It’s not hard to hear echoes of Jim Crow or see 1870s era ape-like cartoons of Black legislators desecrating Southern statehouses and the halls of Congress. Does he object to white people in Wyoming or Vermont (both with smaller populations than the district) having that same representation? Apparently not. What reason then, other than skin color, to continue this disenfranchisement of these otherwise Americans?

William Skepnek,



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