This weekend was the 202nd anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. This year, as in past years for as long as most can remember, wreaths celebrating the life of Lincoln were laid. Dignitaries from the District of Columbia, the US Congress, and even from our neighboring countries (Mexico) attended the ceremony. My mother, a Lincoln scholar of some renowned, along with my oldest boy, of no renowned, were part of the honored delegations who laid a wreath in front of the monument. It was an awesome moment and one in which I was an extremely proud father as my little Cub Scout, decked out in all his glory, proudly saluted the man I hold in highest esteem.
I wish this was the end of the story; that this was the summation of a great moment in our lives and one in which we could regale one another with for years to come. Alas, it would not be so, for a couple of reasons.
It’s in the Constitution Stupid
Article 1, Section 2:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
Article 1, Section 3:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 17:
To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;
The city government of the District of Columbia has pushed for the longest time the ludicrous meme of Taxation without Representation. Their beef is that since they are not allowed to have a full voting member in the House or Senate, that they are unfairly taxed without national level representation.
This is of course the stupidest argument ever made because the Constitution precisely lays out the criteria for Congressional representation, namely Statehood, as well as the precise management of the District. To say they have no representation is absurd because the Congress rules specifically over the District- they have 535 representatives AND the White House representing the interests of Washington, D.C.
The indispensable necessity of complete authority at the seat of government, carries its own evidence with it. It is a power exercised by every legislature of the Union, I might say of the world, by virtue of its general supremacy. Without it, not only the public authority might be insulted and its proceedings interrupted with impunity; but a dependence of the members of the general government on the State comprehending the seat of the government, for protection in the exercise of their duty, might bring on the national councils an imputation of awe or influence, equally dishonorable to the government and dissatisfactory to the other members of the Confederacy. This consideration has the more weight, as the gradual accumulation of public improvements at the stationary residence of the government would be both too great a public pledge to be left in the hands of a single State, and would create so many obstacles to a removal of the government, as still further to abridge its necessary independence. The extent of this federal district is sufficiently circumscribed to satisfy every jealousy of an opposite nature. And as it is to be appropriated to this use with the consent of the State ceding it; as the State will no doubt provide in the compact for the rights and the consent of the citizens inhabiting it; as the inhabitants will find sufficient inducements of interest to become willing parties to the cession; as they will have had their voice in the election of the government which is to exercise authority over them; as a municipal legislature for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages, will of course be allowed them; and as the authority of the legislature of the State, and of the inhabitants of the ceded part of it, to concur in the cession, will be derived from the whole people of the State in their adoption of the Constitution, every imaginable objection seems to be obviated.
The necessity of a like authority over forts, magazines, etc., established by the general government, is not less evident. The public money expended on such places, and the public property deposited in them, requires that they should be exempt from the authority of the particular State. Nor would it be proper for the places on which the security of the entire Union may depend, to be in any degree dependent on a particular member of it. All objections and scruples are here also obviated, by requiring the concurrence of the States concerned, in every such establishment.
So, it was more than a little annoying when D.C. Mayor Grey Davis decided to equate the District’s lack of Congressional representation with that of slavery. Yes, you read that correctly.
Let us remember that D.C., more than any other territory- State or otherwise- receives far more federal dollars. The Mayor and D.C. City Council report to Congress and it is not uncommon for Congressman to push federal funds to pet projects in the District. D.C. lives off of the public tit like no other city, so the rhetoric is really getting old.
Icons Aren’t Convenient
This brings me to the moment where I was most annoyed.
In the program, it states that a letter from the President of the United States will be read. Now, essentially every President for the last 100+ years has either personally attended the ceremony, or sent a letter to be read at the ceremony. That is to say, until Barak Hussein Obama. He failed to send a letter last year and once again, he failed to send a letter this year. Now, some might wonder what the big deal was in not sending a letter, except that Obama has gone out of his way to attempt to put himself and Lincoln together.
He invoked Lincoln when he decided to mimic Lincoln’s famous Train trip to Washington, or used the same Bible as Lincoln for his Oath of Office, or even gave a speech and- of all things- a concert at the steps of the memorial. He has even invoked Lincoln to make changes to education.
For someone so desperate to be seen as the reincarnation of someone else, whether Abraham Lincoln, or more recently Ronald Reagan, you would think that he would find the time to write a simple letter commemorating the birthday of the 16th President. Then again, we’re reminded of how well Obama stands by others… or not.