On my way to the airport yesterday, I happened to hear NPR’s “Morning Edition” team do their annual dramatic reading of the Declaration of Independence. At the risk of sounding hopelessly corny, this part kinda makes me mist up a little:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
It’s the most famous bit, of course, and Thomas Jefferson at his most stirring. I’ll admit that I usually zone out during the list of grievances part, but cruising up the BW Parkway allowed me time to listen. One particular item caught my attention:
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
And yet, 233 years later, the residents of the capital city of the nation formed by this declaration still have no representation, which is — to emphasize Jefferson’s words — “formidable to tyrants only.
Now, I don’t consider our goverment to be tyrants. Idiots, sometimes, to be sure, and misguided on occasion, but not tyrants. So, if you have a moment on this Independence Day, take a moment to remind your Representatives and Senators that there are 500,000 residents of the District of Columbia who are still waiting for “a right inestimable to [us].”
Visit www.dcvote.org for more information.
Oh, and Happy Independence Day!