Washington — Although Time Magazine made "The Protester" its "Person of the Year," the hunger strike by America's own Occupy DC is not getting nearly the amount of coverage as their cause should merit.
The Complainer has picked up their message and the demands are so, simple, clear, and democratic:
DC now has 600,000 taxed, yet voiceless, citizens. Not a Senator to hear them at the Hart Building, no voting representative in the House to stand for their concerns.
Based on the founding principles of our democratic nation, we the signees demand that Washington, D.C. have the long-overdue freedoms of:
Full budget autonomy. Congress is overburdened and often stalemated by its responsibilities to the rest of the country. Yet, the D.C. Government cannot spend its own tax dollars without the approval of Congress. A bill proposed by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) would free DC’s local budget from Congressional control. We urge Congress to pass this bill free of any “riders” restricting how DC spends its own money. Letting D.C. take control of its own budget would free time for Congress to attend to national issues, while giving D.C. the local democracy that is a given to every other American.
Full legislative autonomy. Eliminate the requirement for congressional review of new District laws. This red tape subverts democracy and adds bureaucratic inefficiency to the processes of both Congress and D.C. government. We urge Congress to pass the District of Columbia Legislative Autonomy Act of 2011, H.R. 506.
Full representation and voting rights in Congress. The people of D.C. do not have a vote in the House or in the Senate. This deprives more than 600,000 Americans of an empowered voice in our national legislature. This unjust situation has allowed members of Congress who were not elected by the people of the District of Columbia to impose policies upon the citizens of D.C. that are not supported by the people. We urge Congress to pass H.R. 266, the District of Columbia Equal Representation Act of 2011.
Politicians have attached riders related to abortion funding and gun ownership to past bills that would expand real democracy for D.C. residents. These riders ultimately divert the dialogue from democratic representation and further disenfranchise Washingtonians. We demand that any such riders attached to the legislation above be presented not as mandates, but as referendum proposals up for vote by the citizens of Washington, D.C.
Our prayers and hopes are with you, Occupy DC.
There is no reason that Wyoming, with 50,000 less residential population should have 3 electoral votes, a congressperson, two senators, and political sovereignty over their own affairs. This is democracy in action. Let us pray that Congress takes the requested action before any of the hunger strikers do serious damage to their bodies.