THE BLOG
02/19/2014 09:37 am ET Updated Apr 21, 2014

Even ESPN Disenfranchises the District of Columbia

Washington, DC, has been overlooked, discounted and disrespected since just about always. Heck, the reason DC is no longer shaped in a cartographically photogenic diamond is that, more than a hundred and fifty years ago, Virginia actually took back the land it contributed to create the District. See, Alexandria had to make sure it could keep owning people, and in anticipation of liberal Washington outlawing slavery, present-day Arlington County and Old Town Alexandria reunited with the rest of pre-Civil War Virginia (Retrocession: in defense of states' rights to deny civil rights since 1847).

I have personally been a resident of the Washington Territory since I relocated from a San Francisco to DC five years ago. Newly unemployed, I was attracted by the lure of the special brand of (free) rent control that came with turning 30 years old while living on the 3rd floor of my parents' rowhouse. I soon got a job waiting tables at a chain restaurant in nearby Georgetown during my first few months of official disenfranchisement before moving to Adams Morgan where I entered the grocery industry for the better part of a year. I was a cashier at my local Harris Teeter and briefly moonlighted as an adjunct college professor teaching writing classes in Northern Virginia (Westwood College: calling it a "degree" since 1953).

Now that I have sufficiently buried the lead, let me tell you about the straw that broke this First Amendment-loving camel's back: further suppression of District opinions in the form of espn.com web polls. Answer any of them to see its nationwide results; hover your mouse pointer over any state to get a breakdown of votes in that state. But not Washington, DC. You can choose from any of 50 states, but the only other option is "International Poll Results." It seems when I click my vote here in the nation's capital it counts as much as DC Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton's opinion doesn't on the House floor. DC residents get proximity to the 19 free Smithsonian Museums but must also rely on the beneficence of a Congress we can't vote for to protect our interests.

And I get why so many think that's fine for government. Voting members of Congress, as well as state governments, they understand the peccadilloes of reality and far be it from anybody to try to improve our perfect nation. Recent voter suppression just continues a time-honored national tradition; an ironic price we pay for freedom. And I'll allow that they can set certain ground rules for other things like who is and isn't allowed to get married without it significantly touching my life. I'm a straight white male in America; I am pretty well covered here in the Land of the Free. When I voted for president in November 2012 at Judiciary Square, in the heart of the federal government, there was a wait time of zero minutes to cast my ballot. And the only obstacles threatening my marriage prospects are my own personal malfunctions.

Now that I have sufficiently digressed, let me remind you that this is America, where sports are sacred (ESPN: perverting priorities since 1979). A vote in Congress may be preferable, but a demonstrable vote with ESPN should be inalienable. I still hear the occasional grumblings about DC rights, and District license plates continue to be the only official plates actually broadcasting a government protest ("Taxation Without Representation"). Yet I have never once heard a word, never read a single sentence, about ESPN's Washington, DC, Internet slight.

I should write a letter to Congress. Maybe my Representative can do something. Oh... right.