Reader Letter | To Paul: 'Don't tread on us'
||Friday, June 29, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20002 — I was born in Louisville and raised on Buzzard Roost Road near the small town of Waddy, Ky. I was educated in Kentucky schools — Shelby County High School and Centre College. I bleed Kentucky Blue and can recite to you every word of “My Old Kentucky Home.”
But I’ve never seen the name Rand Paul on the ballot where I live.
Just over a decade ago, I became a resident of the District of Columbia. This makes me one of over 600,000 Americans who have no voting member in the United States Congress. That’s not because my fellow Washingtonians and I do not meet the requirements of full citizenship. We certainly do (and more).
District residents pay nearly the same amount in federal taxes ($17 billion) as the citizens of Kentucky ($21 billion) despite having only 14 percent of Kentucky’s population. To put that in starker terms, each District resident pays an average of $28,442 per year to the federal government compared to $5,020 by Kentuckians. So much for the notion of “no taxation without representation.”
Even more insulting, however, 10 District residents have given their lives fighting to establish representative democracies in the capitals of Iraq and Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the very Congress that decides when and where they will fight for their country offers them no voice in national affairs.
I would have assumed that U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, who preaches a gospel of liberty and limited government, would find this sin of American democracy to be shameful. I would be wrong.
This week, Sen. Paul led the charge to kill a Senate bill designed to give the District of Columbia greater autonomy — or liberty — over local affairs. The bill would have codified the radical notion that my local tax dollars ought to be managed by my local officials, not members of Congress elected by the residents of faraway states.
Sen. Paul knew well that the amendments he offered on guns and abortion would effectively stop the legislation in its tracks. It’s an old procedural trick. Afterwards, he told the Washington Post, “We don’t have [control] over the states, but we do for D.C.”
While I am intensely proud of my Kentucky roots, I am offended by the actions of its elected leadership. It’s puzzling how Sen. Paul reconciles his advocacy for a limited federal government with his efforts to put Uncle Sam squarely in the middle of local District affairs.
So until the day comes when my son has the same civic rights as his many cousins in Kentucky, might I request that the 600,000-plus Washingtonians be permitted to vote for or against Sen. Paul in Kentucky’s next general election? If not, then please deliver a message to him on behalf of District residents: Don’t tread on us!