There’s a new push toward completing the promise of the American revolution, No Taxation Without Representation. Residents of the District of Columbia pay federal taxes, yet have no vote in either house of Congress. There are two ways to remedy this long-standing oversight: grant the District immunity from federal taxes, or grant it statehood.
This most recent effort, which surprisingly has the support of nearly a fifth of the Senate, suffers from one silly flaw. It seeks to rename DC “New Columbia.” To distinguish it, you know, from Columbia.
There’s really no need to change the name at all. As I’ve said before, to be a state doesn’t require you call yourself a state. Virginia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania do just fine with the official title of “Commonwealth” while other states go with the conventional “State of Such-and-Such” moniker. “The District of Columbia” would do just as well as “The Commonwealth of Virginia” as the official name of a state. The only real changes needed would be in emphasis: use Columbia as a stand-alone default name, demote Washington to a city government under the larger state government, refer to residents as Columbians (rather than Washingtonians), and be a little more rigorous in pronouncing the round Spanish “o” in Colombia.
Most of us pronounce the “o” in Columbia like another short “u” anyway.
But, the last thing we need is something cutesy to make the whole thing look like an easily dismissed stunt. No new name, no “New Columbia.” Just start acting like a state and demand to be treated like one.