In case you're not aware, the people of the District of Columbia are governed not by our city government, but by Congress. Unlike the citizens of every state in the union, our local government exists only at the pleasure of Congress, who could vote to dissolve it at any time.
When our city government makes a law, we have to wait for 30 days of Congress being in session before the law can go into effect - to give Congress a chance to unilaterally and irrevocably veto the law.
Congress can also impose laws on the people of the District of Columbia.
So if Republicans take over Congress, here are some of the things that will be on the chopping block...
Equal marriage. Last year, the DC city council passed a measure bringing equal marriage to the District of Columbia. Several of my friends have taken advantage of this, and now enjoy marriages that are recognized by their city government (even if the federal government isn't recognizing them yet). If the Republicans take over Congress, you can be assured that their "Christian" Right constituents will pressure them to add a repeal of equal marriage in the District to something else that's sure to pass - putting Democrats in a difficult position.
Gun control. In the 1990s, DC was the murder capital of the country; as a result, we had (up until Heller some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Republicans have already tried to get rid of the gun laws that weren't struck down by the Heller decision; they tried to attach an NRA-sponsored rewrite of our gun laws to the DC Voting Rights bill, which is why our representative, Eleanor Holmes Norton, still doesn't have a vote in Congress. If the Republicans take Congress, you can be assured that they'll try again to get rid of any gun control laws in the District of Columbia, regardless of what DC's people want.
Schools. Last time Republicans controlled Congress, they used DC as a laboratory for their various attempts to destroy public education - imposing vouchers and charters on the city and undermining DCPS. Given that education reform is likely to be taken up next year (as it's the one place where President Obama actually does agree with the Republicans, much to my disappointment), if Republicans take Congress, look for DC to be forced to take part in many more experiments whose ultimate aim is to undermine and destroy public education and the profession of teaching.
Medical marijuana. In July, we passed a law permitting patients with certain chronic illnesses (no pun intended) to carry up to 4 ounces of marijuana with a prescription. The Democratic Congress didn't veto the law, and now it's legal (even if it may take a little longer to implement). If the Republicans take over Congress, it's Reefer Madness all over again.
Mass transit. DC is one of the most transit-oriented cities in the Union. We have the second-most ridership of any subway system in the country (after, of course, NYC), and a high percentage of DC area residents use our public transit system - Metrorail, the trains, buses, bikeshare - to get to work, to go out, to get around. Unfortunately, WMATA is continually underfunded - a problem made more acute, as anyone who tried to get downtown this weekend for the Stewart/Colbert rally will attest, by an aging rail system that's requiring more and more resources to maintain. Republicans aren't exactly fond of public transit; if they take over Congress, Metro funding could be at even greater risk.
Of course, all of these problems could be solved by a simple measure in the lame-duck Congress: Give DC residents the full statehood they deserve. It would only take 51 votes in the Senate, 217 in the House, and the President's John Hancock (err, Barack Obama) to get it done. Then we'd have the full local sovereignty we're entitled to as American citizens without the oppressive oversight of an unaccountable Congress. We'd also have the full and equal representation in Congress we're entitled to as Americans - one voting representative in the House, and two in the Senate. (Those members of Congress would almost certainly be Democrats; think about that.) Even better, if statehood is passed in the lame-duck Congress, it can't be revoked, ever, by the next Congress. It's irreversible.
But until then, GOTV GOTV GOTV. Help Democrats hold Congress, so that DC's people are allowed to remain sovereign and make democratic laws. You can be assured that the Republicans won't respect our right to do things like respect equal marriage, legalize medical marijuana, and fund public transit.
We don't get a voice in Congress; please help elect our advocates.
(And call your Congressmembers and demand that DC statehood be passed in the lame duck session!)