Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Media Source: 
Martin Austermuhle

Sure, most of us are peeved that District residents still don't have voting rights. But at least you can win some money for finding creative ways to do something about it.

Voting rights advocacy organization DC Vote is sponsoring the Demand Democracy in D.C. Contest, through which they are offering a top prize of $1,500 for the person who comes up with the most creative way to protest the District's ongoing second-class status in the coming year.

To enter the running for the money -- there's also second- and third-place prizes of $750 and $500, respectively -- all you have to do is put your idea down on paper. (Though organizers are limiting you to no more than two pages.) The folks at DC Vote want "creative, bold [and] non-violent" ideas that dramatize the denial of democracy in D.C. They also want to know how your idea would be implemented, whether it will spark national attention, who will be involved and what it would cost. The contest closes this Friday, and proposals should be emailed here.

To get the creative juices flowing, here's an idea: reroute all 311 calls to the office of any legislator that pretends to speak for us.

A few years back, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said that D.C. doesn't need its own representative in the House, since it has 435 members looking out for it already. (Gohmert's exact quote: "I would submit to you that Washington, D.C. is also the only city in the entire country that every Senator and every Member of Congress has a vested interest in seeing that it works properly, that water works, sewer works, and no other city in America has that.") We took Gohmert up on his word and asked residents to call in requests for trash pickups, pothole-fillings and the like. A modest idea, it at least managed to irk some of Gohmert's staffers who were being asked to make sure our sewers and water worked.

Just imagine the possibilities with a Republican House! Beyond our likely overlord Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), there's always a bounty of Republicans willing to say that they know what's best for the District. If they think they do, we'll happily play along. Hey Rep. Chaffetz, you can have your opinions on same-sex marriage in the District, but can you also get to clearing the snow off our roads while you're at it? Thanks.