First up, more fallout following the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, as both President Obama and Hillary Clinton fall for Donald Trump's disingenuous distractions about "radical Islam". And, thus, the GOP's presumptive nominee succeeds, yet again, in hijacking the important conversation on how to curb the nation's mass shooting and gun violence epidemic, just as the NRA and GOP are likely hoping. We try to correct the record in response to a number of fresh Trump lies related to Orlando, even as we notice that, yes, Trump is now banning even more journalists from his events for reporting on actual facts. The growing list of media outlets being rejected for press credentials now even includes the Washington Post.
Then, as Democrats in D.C. head to the polls for the blessedly final Presidential Primary contest of the 2016 cycle today, we speak to Anise Jenkins of FreeDC.org on the continuing fight for Congressional representation and full statehood for residents of our nation's capital which has, ironically enough, suffered under the tyranny of "taxation without representation" for more than 200 years. "We had African-American slaves. We had women who had no rights. There were a lot of inequalities," at the founding of our country, Jenkins tells me. "Those things have ended, thank goodness, after struggling…and a Civil War. However, D.C. is still —- because of Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 17 of the Constitution —- D.C. is still back in political slavery."
She goes on to explain how, despite paying more in taxes to the federal government than they take from it, all of the city's budgets and laws must still be approved by our dysfunctional U.S. Congress, where members —- often Republicans from far away states —- frequently abuse that power as a political bargaining chip or to just simply punish its residents.
So why have Democrats also failed to keep promises to pass legislation that would give autonomy to D.C., even when they've controlled both houses of Congress and the White House? Jenkins says she's been told it's "the four toos": "D.C. was too black, DC was too progressive —- or, they called it liberal at that time —- we were too urban, and we were too Democrat."
"The United States is the only country in the world that has a democratic form of government, where its residents of its capital have no vote or no local autonomy. The only one in the world," Jenkins says. "It's an international disgrace."
While Trump's multiple positions on statehood for D.C., as Jenkins details, should come as no surprise, even Obama, she says, has "been a huge disappointment" on this matter. When you stop to pay attention to it, which I hope you do, it's actually a remarkable discussion and an extraordinary ironic issue. All happening in the town that is the very seat of governance for a nation supposedly based on both individual freedom and representative democracy.