Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his presidential candidacy this week at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Pennsylvania. With "Make D.C. Listen" as a battlecry, Cruz's enthusiasm for limited government has been the ideology driving Cruz's political trajectory to date. Highlighting his distaste for federal overreach, Cruz' official Senate bio lauds him as a "passionate fighter for local government" in just the second sentence.
Only last week, however, Cruz moved to overturn two democratically enacted, local laws in a jurisdiction several states and more than 1,300 miles away from the Statehouse in Austin, Texas. On March 18, Cruz introduced two pieces of federal legislation that would nullify city laws in Washington, D.C. pertaining to insurance coverage for contraception and the rights of LGBTQ youth to organize on D.C. college campuses. These laws were passed by the democratically elected D.C. Council, supported by local tax revenues, and affect only those 650,000 U.S. citizens who reside in America's capital city.
To reiterate: With the power vested in him by the Texas electorate, Cruz is using his federal authority to overturn the results of city-level elections in Washington, D.C., simply because he doesn't agree with how the city voted.
By way of background, Washington, D.C. is home to a population larger than that of either Vermont or Wyoming. People in D.C. pay local and federal taxes. They fight and die in U.S. wars. They abide by federal law and serve time in federal prison. What differentiates the citizens of our nation's capital from their fellow Americans is that D.C. residents have no voting representation in Congress, limited representation in Presidential elections, and congressional oversight over all local legislative and budgetary decisions. On a routine basis, Congress interferes with D.C.'s ability to pass its own laws on such issues as gun control, HIV prevention, and public health. Notably, the citizens of Washington, D.C. first cast a ballot for President in 1964, and for Mayor in 1973. More than two centuries after America fought off British tyrants in the name of democracy -- and won -- the people in the capital of the United States are still waiting on the right to vote.
Currently before Congress is legislation to end the disenfranchisement of hundreds of thousands of American citizens by making the residential areas of D.C. a state, while preserving a federal district as stipulated under Article 1, Section VIII of the U.S. Constitution. Adopting new states into the Union has legal precedent, obviously, as does shrinking the size of the federal district. The Constitution requires that D.C. not exceed 100 square miles in area, but specifies no lower limit. Northern Virginia, home to the Pentagon, was once part of D.C., before the land was ceded in a policy compromise about state law and slavery in 1846.
Cruz does not support the D.C. statehood bill, which would finally end the tyrannical practice of taxation without representation just beyond the steps of the building where he legislates.
When it comes to extracting tax dollars from D.C. citizens and making laws on their behalf, Cruz is happy to extend the District every obligation a state is forced to bear for its country. But democratic representation in government? Cruz not only persists in denying more than 650,000 U.S. citizens a voice in their federal legislature, he also goes out of his way to replace the local decisions of D.C. voters with his personal viewpoints.
The term for ruling and taxing the citizenry without its consent is tyranny. Americans fight wars against tyranny abroad, but let it stand in the capital of our own country. Cruz is making D.C. listen -- from high on his federal perch -- by replacing the jurisdiction's democratic right to self-rule with his own judgment, results of elections be damned.
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