President Obama announced Tuesday that the District’s politically charged “taxation without representation” license plates will be placed on all presidential limousines this weekend, a move city leaders have been waiting on for four years. In a statement, White House officials said Obama will use the protest license plate because after living in the city for four years, he has seen “first-hand how patently unfair it is for working families in D.C. to work hard, raise children and pay taxes, without having a vote in Congress. Attaching these plates to the presidential vehicles demonstrates the President’s commitment to the principle of full representation for the people of the District of Columbia and his willingness to fight for voting rights, Home Rule and budget autonomy for the District,” the statement said. White House and Secret Service officials will place the plates on presidential vehicles before Monday’s inaugural parade, which is expected to draw tens of millions of viewers around the world. White House officials stressed that the new plates will remain on presidential vehicles for all of Obama’s second term. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), D.C. Council members and voting rights activists were thrilled by the news, hailing it as a small but important step in the decades-long fight for voting rights or statehood. “It’s very exciting, and I see this as a step toward a lot of things down the road,” Gray said.Earlier today I proposed that statehood for DC and Puerto Rico would not only be victories for democracy in America, but specific victories for Democrats in America, countervailing GOP efforts to game the electoral college to win elections with their ever more marginal minority since they are giving up actually trying to change to appeal to majorities in a diversifying, secularizing, planetizing nation. When we ponder the symbolic value of Obama's choice of license plates, it may be useful to include as part of that symbolism a signal about his awareness and willingness to engage in Democratic options to circumvent anti-democratic GOP shenanigans.
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Tuesday, January 15, 2013
"Taxation Without Representation"