As the partial shutdown of the federal government continues, the Obama administration on Thursday said that it would allow states to use state money to reopen the national parks that have been shuttered by the shutdown bottleneck.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said that she would consider arrangements from governors that are willing to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen the parks nationwide, which is welcomed news for park goers, but what about the District of Columbia that like the national parks is also directly dependent on federal funds to function?
Also on Thursday, Washington D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray told a crowd of hundreds at the Friendship charter school campus that the federal impasse threatens the city’s education, transportation and health care systems, as he called on residents to let Congress know about it, as he received a standing ovation while he pumped his fist to chants of “Free D.C.”
“For us, it’s not a game. It has deadly, serious consequences for thousands, thousands of our most vulnerable residents.”
On Wednesday, Gray confronted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during Reid’s press conference and pressed him to pass a Republican backed, House of Representatives bill to “allow the District of Columbia citizens to spend its own money!”
A seemingly perturbed Reid told Gray in what appeared to be a hostile tone: “I’m on your side. Don’t screw it up! I’m on your side.”
Now as much as Davis makes a great point based on the real-life concerns of his constituents in regard to the funding of the District of Columbia being tied up in the bureaucratic, red tape that has log-jammed the federal government, once the decision is made to go too far down the road of spot-funding certain aspects of the government, our democratic attempt at democracy becomes a legislative hierarchy, where some programs will get the yellow brick road, while other programs will be left with potholes in the lawn.
And as much as that would be fine with many of the conservatives in the Republican Party and in the Tea Party, it would represent a fundamental change in policy, where instead of the interests with the best lobbyists will get the best funding, it will morph into the interests with the best lobbyists getting the only funding, and politicians like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky have shown no anguish whatsoever over such political notions.
So in light of this shutdown coupled with the well-known cries for D.C. statehood, the demands that were made by Davis, and national parks being allowed to reopen by states as long as the states use state money, one could now make a very strong argument that the District of Columbia is nothing more than a glorified, unfairly taxed, underrepresented, national park, and that comparison seems to be a lot closer to reality based on the consequences of the shutdown's effect on the distribution of funding via Congress.
For many years the idea of D.C. statehood was a running, political joke, especially for conservatives. But thanks to the shutdown's defunding of the national parks and the District of Columbia, that joke might finally be taken seriously now, because since the federal government has decided that national parks can be reopened through state money, how is it any different if the District of Columbia is allowed to function on revenue raised from local taxes and fees? How is one any different from the other?
And for all of the critics of the idea of D.C. statehood, they should ask themselves if they would want their local funding to be placed in the shiftless hands of Congress? The answer would have been a resounding no before the shutdown, but now the answer would in all likelihood be a thunderous absolutely not under any circumstances.
Well how do you think people in D.C. feel at this point?